Image source: CLAN
The Charlton Boy’s Home was operated by the Anglican Church. It comprises one of a continuing series on children’s homes deserving of being revisited by the Royal Commission for a variety of reasons. Affected people should contact an organisation such as Broken Rites or CLAN. (A link to a former resident who has indicated a desire to get in touch with others from the Charlton Home is given below).
Peter Watson, the former Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, was a regular visitor to the Home at one stage, but appears not to have noticed anything untoward there.
A fund-raising article for the Home in the 1970s mentions that the boys receive “love and acceptance” which helps them “turn away from crime.”
In February of this year, a former worker at the Home, Albert John Abel, was convicted of sexual assault of a boy at the Home. He had pleaded guilty to similar offences in the late 1960s. Nevertheless, Judge Anthony Blackmore stated that Abel “was rehabilitated” and that he had “spent more than 40 years living in the community as a church-going family man.” He got 3 years.
The Abel case highlights inadequate sentencing, and the inclusion of irrelevancies such as “church-goer” in lighter sentencing pleas. During those 40 years, it is possible that other cases have yet to surface. The Royal Commission will find more of these cases.
Abel’s victim put it very well when he said “The bloke should have got 10 years or 15 years. The judge is thinking of Abel’s family but what about me?” CLAN executive officer Leonie Sheedy said the DPP needed to appeal for a longer sentence to demonstrate people who were abused as children in state care could receive justice if they came forward. “People who take advantage of vulnerable children need to feel the full brunt of the law,” she said. “This sentence doesn’t reflect the gravity of the crime that was committed on this young boy. We heard all about Abel and how he was a church-going family man now, there wasn’t anything about the victim. These kids had no one to turn to.”
In 2004, the Anglican Church offered the standard apology for its Charlton Home.
The case must be raised again as a priority by the Royal Commission, with attention on the former Melbourne Archbishop.
Read more here:
TOMORROW: Enoggera Boy’s Home
That’s all I can say
Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)