Victim awarded $1.75m over paedophile priest

A survivor of one of Victoria’s most notorious paedophile priests has received a further $1.75 million from the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne in one of largest ever settlements for clerical abuse in Victoria.

Stephen, who asked for his surname not to be used, was subjected to horrific sexual abuse between 1975 and 1976 by disgraced priest Michael Glennon, who was a football coach and karate instructor at St Monica’s Primary School in Moonee Ponds.

The Catholic Archdiocese recently agreed to the massive settlement following extensive criticism of the church’s redress scheme by the Royal Commission in 2015.

Stephen was awarded $75,000 by the archdiocese in September 2016 along with an apology from then-Melbourne archbishop Denis Hart.

Now 58, he told The Age in 2020 that he had been urged by a managing clerk at law firm Slater and Gordon to pursue compensation under the Melbourne Response, rather than launching civil proceedings against the church.

“I got this feeling they wanted me to go quietly and pushed me into the easier option,” he said. “I wanted to make the church pay, I’ve not had a life and I have nothing,” he said.

Arnold Thomas & Becker lawyer Georgia Sneddon said the settlement reflected the importance of legislative changes following the royal commission, which enabled victims of clerical abuse to pursue fair and just compensation.

“Stephen has had to deal with the effects of the abuse for his entire life, and while compensation cannot take away his trauma and suffering, we are pleased that this settlement has given him a strong sense of validation and justice,” Ms Sneddon said.

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