Mr Whitcher, whose lawyers are due to file a similar lawsuit and who identified himself in the 1977 photo, said he was abused by one teacher after initially refusing to open his coat, and that he recently spoke to another former classmate who recalled being physically dragged. from his tent to the line.
“It was [considered] a ritual passage for boys who become men … ‘man up and accept it’, “he said.
“They took it upon themselves out of arrogance, out of control, while the whole environment was isolated.”
The friends recalled about 10 men – whether teachers “disguised” in military gear or church figures from the area – were present during the alleged abuse, whether directly involved or watching.
Afterwards, the friends recalled, the boys felt betrayed and humiliated, but discussing the incident was “taboo” for the rest of the 10-day camp and when they returned to their families.
“None of us wanted to talk about it because it was so shameful,” Mr Sheppard said.
“And I think they are [the teachers] knew that too. We were young boys, and they just did it to sexually exploit us. ”
Mr. Sheppard claims that he was also abused at cadet camps in 1978 and 1979 when he was 15 and 16 years old. He said that during sleepless nights for every camp he had pain from anxiety.
Mr Whitcher said he was so worried about the 1978 camp that he asked if his friend’s sister, then a registered nurse, could help.
“She did not ask why, she may have her suspicions … she put a cast on my arm,” he said.
“That was the only exemption you could get to get out of the cadet camp. I was so relieved. I stopped making the bed wet, I could function. “He was exempted by his sports talents to prevent the 1979 camp.
Mr Sheppard, a retired police officer, and Mr Whitcher, an ambulance paramedic, said they were ready to recall their trials in court if necessary.
Shine Lawyers said both men were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues directly related to the abuse.
Mr Sheppard said the trial turned him from a living boy into a reserved and jumpy teenager who became a sometimes bitter man who considered suicide.
“Someone needs to speak out” about what happened, he said, to address what his scripture claims was a breach of care by his former school to its students.
Some teachers at the camps have since died, but Mr Whitcher said he felt the school honored those men for their careers.
“You think, ‘What a load of shit’ knowing they were sexual predators … that struck me and I thought I could not always have this ebbing and flowing in my life,” he said.
“It just started a flame inside me that has not subsided. I want justice for it.”
Mentone Grammar has yet to file a response to the court and did not say in a statement whether it would contest the men’s allegations. It declined a request for an interview.
Acting Chief Jarrod O’Neill said in the statement: “We reiterate all past situations that have created any kind of student abuse and would like to express our sincere apologies for all the historical shortcomings.
“We are ready to provide pastoral support, including assistance with guidance, to every affected student.”
Mr O’Neill said the allegations were being investigated but it was not appropriate to comment further.
Sara Kaurin, a senior associate in abuse law at Shine, said Mr. Sheppard and Mr. Whitcher hope the school recognizes the pain inflicted on her and other former students.
“Our clients have shown great courage in coming forward to seek compensation for the abuse they have suffered,” Ms Kaurin said.
“Since doing so, more former students have contacted us to express themselves and seek compensation for themselves, which has only strengthened our clients’ resolution to seek justice for what has happened.”
If you or someone you know needs support, you can contact the National Counseling Service for Sexual Assault, Domestic and Domestic Violence at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 131 114, or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636.
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