A MAN who was sexually assaulted by a Christian Brother claimed yesterday that the Catholic Church had bought his silence.
The man said by talking to the Herald Sun he risked being forced to repay the compensation.
The former altar boy was last year awarded more than $50,000 by theBishop of Ballarat after being sexually assaulted as a 14-year- old inthe early 1970s.
He was a victim of Brother Edward Vernon Dowlan, a notoriouspedophile who was sentenced to almost 10 years' jail after pleadingguilty to 16 charges of indecently assaulting 11 boys, aged nine to 13,between 1971 and 1982.
Under the terms of the settlement the victim is prohibited fromwriting or speaking about his ordeal, the compensation or theprocesses. He is not even permitted to identify the parties to theagreement, particularly the religious order.
He can, however, take his complaint to the police.
"It is what you would call hush money -- and it's not right," the man said yesterday.
"I'm even taking a risk talking to the newspaper -- if they find out who I am they can force me to repay the money."
This week, former Melbourne Archbishop George Pell denied thatcompensation under his own process requires the victim's silence inreturn for payment.
But in Ballarat, a diocese independent of Melbourne, confidentiality is mandatory, according to the agreement.
Ironically, the Catholic Church in Australia has introduced aprotocol for dealing with and responding to sexual abuse by its clergy,entitled "Towards Healing".
Under its official principles and procedures, it is stated: "Nocomplainant shall be required to give an undertaking which imposes uponthem an obligation of silence concerning the circumstances which ledthem to make a complaint, as a condition of an agreement with theChurch authority."
In the Herald Sun today Dr Pell and the Melbourne Archbishop DenisHart have issued an apology to the victims of sexual abuse by Catholicpriests and Brothers.
In an advertisement, the apology reads: "We again acknowledge withdeep sadness and regret the evil of sexual abuse and other betrayals oftrust, which have been committed by a small minority of Catholicclergy."
While supporting the apology, the victim described it as a hollow gesture, given their dioceses were in Melbourne and Sydney.
"They don't speak for the other dioceses in Victoria and New South Wales," he said.
"I think most victims would like to see the bishops as well get upon Sunday and issue genuine apologies. I've known some very goodpriests, and some very good Brothers. It's not up to them to apologiseon behalf of their fellow clergy.
"But I do feel that like any other major organisation, the buck stops with the managers -- the bishops."
Asked if apologies would be given from Catholic pulpits tomorrow,Melbourne Archdiocese spokesman Peter Mahon said he would check.
for a listing of alternate locations.