Sexual abuse survivor says Catholic offer of help ‘two-faced’

sexual abuse

A man who suffered sexual abuse as a child at the hands of the Brothers of St John of God is upset.

Darryl Smith (pictured) was one of dozens of boys who suffered “extreme abuse and neglect” at Marylands School. Complaints show the school’s abusive reign ran from 1955 to the late 1980s.

Now 59, Smith is raising money to go to an international summit for sexual assault survivors in Rome next month.

He’s scrimped and saved, and has a Givealittle account to help cover his costs. He also approached the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch for help.

“Unfortunately, the diocese is declining the opportunity to raise money for your trip,” the diocese replied.

Smith says the diocese’s response is two-faced.

Request and response

Smith says the diocese promised to ensure the abuse wouldn’t happen again.

It also said it would help survivors.

“They lied,” Smith says.

He made the comment after approaching the diocese recently for help to attend an upcoming summit as an ambassador for all New Zealand abuse survivors.

However, in a statement, the Christchurch diocese said Smith had previously been given support, redress payments and further support to attend a similar 2019 Rome summit.

The bishops wish him well, the statement concluded.

In 2019, Smith flew to Rome after receiving personal financial assistance from Dunedin bishop Michael Dooley, who also gave him a letter of introduction to meet Pope Francis.

While in Rome, Smith was interviewed by the ABC but failed to meet the Pope.


Smith is disappointed his request to the Christchurch diocese was refused.

He said he hoped to be an ambassador for all New Zealand survivors of abuse and meet others at the conference to discuss progress being made about sexual abuse in different countries, share ideas and consider ways to work toward continued change in the Catholic Church.

He had planned to take the Marylands School report with him to share with other survivors.

He said at the last summit, he found it healing to meet survivors from around the world and exchange stories.

He explained that he felt he got some of his power back by being there.

Despite the Royal Commission of Inquiry process being “scary”, Smith says he feels very positive about what the Abuse in Care report found.

The Royal Commission identified multiple failures, including those made by the Police, the State and Marylands, and the Christchurch diocese.


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