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lunedì 18 maggio 2015
David Rapson: The Catholic Pedosadist
Former Catholic Priest David Rapson, jailed for nine years for the rape and sexual assault of six students
When former priest David Rapson was ordained in 1982, he received a white cord known as a cincture, which fastens clerical vestments but also signifies chastity and purity in the Roman Catholic Church.
Not one for symbolism, Rapson used his cincture to restrain 16-year-old Ben Monagle, before he viciously raped the vulnerable student in 1990.
Ben Monagle at age 16
Last week, the 61-year-old was jailed for at least nine years over the rape and sexual assault of six students, but did not express any remorse to his victims.
Despite a string of sexual assaults dating back to 1976, Rapson became vice-principal of a Catholic boarding school in Melbourne, where boys were routinely and ruthlessly abused by a group of priests and brothers from 1960 to 1990.
For legal reasons, neither the school nor the Catholic order can be named.
Ben Monagle, who was raped as a teenager at a Catholic boarding college. Photo: Angela Wylie
But Mr Monagle, 41, is determined to tell his tragic story of clerical abuse, which triggered more than 20 years of mental illness, drug abuse and crime. He is also considering legal action to sue the Catholic order, which until now has only paid for 14 counselling sessions.
"Someone needs to make them accountable. They keep saying they're sorry, so why do they keep using lawyers to deny us justice and the chance at a fresh start?" Mr Monagle said.
When summoned to Rapson's office in July 1990, Mr Monagle knew what to expect.
The agricultural student had already been raped three times since starting at the college as a boarder in Year 10.
Rapson usually plied his victims with grog, cigarettes or spiked Milo, but dispensed with the inducements before his fourth and final attack.
"He pushed me over his desk. He then tied my hands up using a robe cord with tassels on the end. It was what the priests would tie around their waists. He tied my hands in front of me as I was lying on his desk. I was crying at the time. He told me to shut up," Mr Monagle said in a statement to Victoria Police.
The sadistic rape "seemed to last for an hour" and at one point, Rapson twisted the boy's testicles.
"I was screaming out in pain. That just seemed to make him go harder. I was in such agony and crying out. He then put a hanky in my mouth. All I could think about was Mum and Dad and how I wanted to go home."
A month after the attack, Monagle required corrective surgery to his testicles that left him with 15 stitches and 8 staples.
Deeply traumatised, Mr Monagle left the Catholic college after Year 10. Within months, he dropped out of a wool-classing course at Essendon Tafe and fled the state in 1991 without a word of explanation to his family.
By the time Mr Monagle turned 17, he had been involved in a string of armed robberies in NSW and Queensland, and tasted methamphetamine for the first time.
Trapped by a fierce addiction for more than two decades, Monagle snorted, smoked and injected methamphetamines as his life lurched out of control.
When Mr Monagle's son was born in October last year, he missed the birth. He was in the grip of a five day binge fuelled by ice and Valium, and was supposed to be in charge of his three young daughters when his wife went into labour.
Mr Monagle's marriage broke down in February, his four children are now in the care of the Victorian Child Protection Service and he is undergoing an extensive rehabilitation program in Geelong.
"I've lost my wife and kids over this. I've been on the run for 20 years. I always felt he was coming for me and I'd self-destruct," he said.
Geelong priest, Father Kevin Dillon, has provided unwavering support for Mr Monagle and his family, since they relocated to Victoria in 2013.
An outspoken critic of the Catholic Church's response to clerical abuse, Fr Dillon says Mr Monagle's case was the most egregious he had witnessed in 46 years as a priest.
"I have never seen such a sad and devastating case as this. And I do not exaggerate. From what I know, the devastation and total breakdown of both his personal life and that of his family is, in no uncertain terms, due to the abuse by David Rapson, a trusted priest and teacher," Fr Dillon said.
Mr Monagle's parents, Raymond and Mary, only learned of their son's abuse in December 2012 – more than 20 years after he left school.
"Things finally made sense to us in that the path Ben's life has taken was so different to what we had hoped for him. At least we had a reason why.
"Our family has lost count of the number of times we have reconciled with Ben for a new beginning, over the years, followed by his return to addictions," Mrs Monagle said.
But she continues to grapple with her faith and the church's treatment of her son.
"There is a complete lack of humanity. Not one person [from the order] ever contacted Ben to ask if he was okay. They are more connected with the law and protecting themselves. They seem to have forgotten the core values that come from the messages of the gospel," Mrs Monagle said.
For help or information regarding sexual abuse, call theSexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732. Online you can visit www.1800respect.org.au