THESE men, abuse victims of the Ohio boys’ home in Walcha, received just $40,000 compensation from the Anglican Church.
But their lawyer received more than four times that amount, $168,000. Now they have been ordered to pay back the $40,000 they received in a separate payout from the state government for their years of abuse at the hands of Ohio’s Albert “Sarge” Holloway.
Victim Ron Green is also $18,000 in debt after a 10-year battle for justice.
The men came forward after The Express featured the horrors of the boys’ home and an apparent miscarriage of justice earlier this month.
They say they have spent the past decade fighting for justice and victim Peter Hine, of Armidale, says he’d rather go to jail than pay back any of the $40,000 compensation received from the state government.
“I was taken away from my family when I was just five and beaten and flogged nearly every day during my four years at Ohio,” Mr Hine said yesterday.
“I will not pay back any of that money.”
The men’s plight for justice began more than 10 years ago when the NSW Victims’ Tribunal offered victims of abuse from Armidale’s Coventry Home and Walcha’s boys’ home $40,000 each in compensation.
That was matched a year later by the Anglican Church, which set aside $650,000 in a confidential settlement to be divided between 12 abuse victims.
But whereas the men received just $40,000, their Sydney solicitor was paid $168,000 by the church. This included a $25,000 “contingency” fee and $972 for photocopying services.
Worse was to come. When the state government discovered the men had also received compensation from the church, it demanded they repay the original $40,000 state compo.
Since then, the men have sought legal representation to advance their case, however, they have received conflicting advice as to whether the case is of a civil or criminal nature and so are unsure how to proceed with the matter.
Mr Green has spent $18,000 of his own money seeking legal resolution.
“I am told we have a case of lost opportunity to pursue further justice and reasonable compensation,” Mr Green said.
“But no solicitor appears to want to help us any more.”
Mr Green and Mr Hine, along with Ron Morris, were among the dozens of victims of “Sarge”, the husband of the matron of Ohio in the 1950s.
Holloway was convicted of indecent assault and common assault and placed on a three-year good behaviour bond. But in an unusual move, the attorney-general of the day refused to file bills against Holloway, essentially dropping the case.