Commission hears of cruel abuser who moved from home to home
DISTURBING evidence before the royal commission into child sex abuse has revealed a cruel rapist was allowed to move from one boys home to another for decades before he was finally forced out of the Salvation Army.
Captain Lawrence Wilson went to his grave without ever having been convicted over the sadistic sexual and physical violence he subjected at least 15 victims to during his time at boys' homes in NSW and Queensland.
Now, the broken boys he left behind have had their chance to tell their stories before a royal commission which will call on the Salvation Army to explain it's apparent failure to protect vulnerable children from a known predator.
Earlier this week, former Riverview resident Raymond Carlile painted the first picture of a deranged house manager who would drag him from his bed at night, rape him, force him to have sex with other boys and "froth at the mouth" as he dealt out vicious beatings.
Another victim, who can only be referred to as FV, told the commission on Thursday the sexual attacks he had suffered while at the mercy of Wilson at a home near Bexley, haunted him in his sleep and damaged him so badly that he had never felt comfortable cuddling his own children.
His struggle to speak about the abuse was so apparent, Counsel Assisting the Commissioner Simeon Beckett stepped in to read a statement on his behalf.
Along with various accounts of Wilson sexually abusing him, he described an incident in the late '60s, where he was sent to stay with a Salvation Army couple Wilson described as "good people".
FV said in his statement the woman had lay on her bed naked and told him "not to be ashamed of my body" before fondling him and encouraging him to perform sexual acts with her and her husband.
When FV ran away and caught the train to Bexley, he reported the abuse to Wilson who responded by caining him 18 times and sending him to bed.
The victim said the officers at the home had always told the boys they "would amount to nothing in life" and he felt they had been right about that.
"One day you are a boy, then the next you are a shell walking around," the statement read
"You leave the boy somewhere but one thing for sure is, you can never find him again."
Documents before the commission reveal that despite a string of complaints made against him, Wilson went on to serve the Army at Mackay and Cairns and even took up a position as a chaplain with the NSW Police Force before finally being encouraged to resign in the 80s.
In 1994, Wilson fronted court charged with buggery, common assault and other offences but he was later cleared.
Mr Beckett said the Salvation Army had refused to cover Wilson's legal costs and had "expressed surprise at his acquittal".
Wilson died in 2008.
Major Peter Farthing, the Salvation Army officer currently tasked with investigating child abuse complaints, is expected to describe Wilson as the Salvation Army Eastern Territory's "most serious offender".
A married couple who were dismissed from the army after complaining about Wilson's "sick parades" - a process where he had the boys line up to be privately examined for "medical" purposes, will give evidence before the commission when the hearing resumes on Friday.