Monday, 20 May 2013

Accused headmaster turned me into paedophile... May 11

Accused headmaster turned me into pedophile, says convicted cleric Peter Gilbert

Peter Gilbert
Peter Gilbert has blamed St Barnabas headmaster, the late Robert Waddington, for turning him into a pedophile. Picture: Michael Milnes Source: The Australian
A CLERGYMAN who allegedly raped boys at a north Queensland boarding school in the 1960s has claimed he was ordered to take female hormones by his headmaster, who encouraged the "romantic love" of children among staff.
Former Anglican brother Peter Gilbert - sentenced to seven years' jail in 2006 for the rape and indecent assault of children in the 1980s in South Australia - has blamed St Barnabas headmaster the late Robert Waddington for turning him into a pedophile.
In a statement to one of his alleged victims, Gilbert said Waddington was molesting children himself and the Anglican priest would absolve the young teacher of his abuse of children in the confessional.
The account has emerged as the top ranks of the Anglican church in Australia and Britain have been rocked by allegations of the covering-up of complaints made in 1999 and 2003 about Waddington's abuse while headmaster at the boarding school in Ravenshoe, north Queensland, and later, when he was dean of Manchester.
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A full investigation is being demanded into the handling of the complaints by the former Archbishop of York, now Lord (David) Hope of Thornes, and Australian church officials, including the former bishop of north Queensland, Clyde Wood.
Lord Hope this week expressed regret over failing to report to police the allegations about Waddington, who rose to become the head of education for the church in Britain after serving as school principal in Queensland until 1970.
The extent of Waddington's alleged history of abuse and the church's inaction were exposed after a joint investigation by The Australian and The Times of London. It also revealed that up to four other staff members at St Barnabas, which opened in 1953 and closed, mid-term, in 1990, are facing allegations of sexual abuse while at the school or have been convicted on child sex offences at other schools and parishes in South Australia and Brisbane in later years.
The investigation revealed that church officials, including Lord Hope, failed to report the 1999 allegations of abuse made by former Queensland student Bim Atkinson and similar claims made in 2003 by the family of a Manchester choirboy, Eli Ward. The alleged victims were never told of the existence of the other allegations.
North Queensland bishop Bill Ray, who took over the diocese in 2007, yesterday said he would meet the head of Australia's Anglican church, Phillip Aspinall, on Monday over the allegations.
The allegations are being referred by the Anglican Church to the federal royal commission into child abuse.
Bishop Ray, who confirmed on Thursday that the St Barnabas school files were missing - suspected of being dumped into a "disused well or tin mine shaft" in the district - said a letter would be read out at masses across north Queensland this weekend pleading for victims or witnesses to contact the church or police.
"We want people to come forward, and we will co-operate fully with the investigations," Bishop Ray said.
Gilbert, who was released from jail in 2010, is among the former clergymen at St Barnabas facing allegations they abused children at the small boarding school.
In the statement to the victim, obtained by The Wekend Australian, Gilbert claims Waddington, headmaster between 1961 and 1970, took him to a doctor and had him put on the synthetic oestrogen stilbestrol after he complained of having sexual thoughts about women.
He says Waddington had told him the drug would "control his libido". Instead he was turned into a "semi-transvestite", growing breasts and developing an attraction for his young male students.
"Prior to joining St Barnabas, I hadn't the slightest interest in children ... now they were the centre of my life," he wrote. "He misled me about the dangers and propriety of romantic love for children while being in a position of special power and influence.
"He encouraged and facilitated my romantic love for children directly and indirectly through ideology, through literature, by example and through specific guidance and advice in response to my concerns."
Gilbert, who was 21 when he moved from Adelaide to Ravenshoe, was persuaded by Waddington to join the Bush Brotherhood of St Barnabas as a postulant for a year, which required him to remain celibate. In his second year, Gilbert told Waddington he was struggling with celibacy, confessed his attraction to women and asked to be released him from his vows. Waddington refused.
A few months later Gilbert asked Waddington again to be released from his vows.
This time, Waddington told him there was a medication that could remove his libido and the headmaster made an appointment for him with a doctor who allegedly supplied him with stilbestrol.
Waddington and the doctor assured Gilbert the medication was not a sex hormone and that it would not "feminise" him.
A few months later, Gilbert began to feel sexually attracted to boys in his classes. He reported his attraction to boys to Waddington, who told him: "Oh, don't worry about that. That is perfectly normal around here."

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