Ju­nior doc­tors to strike

Dar­ryl Smith hopes to talk to Pope in Rome about his ex­pe­ri­ences in church and state care

Whanganui Chronicle - - Front Page - Lau­rel Stow­ell

I want to ask him

[the Pope] to be more ac­count­able

and help all sur­vivors bet­ter.

Dar­ryl Smith

Aman who once wrote quizzes for the Wan­ganui

Chron­i­cle is head­ing for Rome next month, hop­ing to talk to Pope Fran­cis about his years of suf­fer­ing abuse in Catholic in­sti­tu­tions.

Dar­ryl Smith lived in Castle­cliff, Whanganui for about five years in the 1990s. Dur­ing that time Chron­i­cle ed­i­tor Jim McLees al­lowed him to write fort­nightly quizzes, pub­lished on Satur­days.

It was a break­through for Smith, who had been in and out of prison all his adult life, sen­tenced for crimes like theft and bur­glary.

“He [McLees] would be proud to know that I have gone from strength to strength and changed my life,” Smith said.

Smith is now 55 and lives in Dunedin. He has been talk­ing to its Catholic bishop, Michael Doo­ley, about his treat­ment by mem­bers of the Brothers Hospi­tallers of St John of God in New Zealand and Aus­tralia.

Bishop Doo­ley is fund­ing Smith’s six-day trip to Rome next month. Sex­ual abuse by clergy will be on the Pope’s mind — he has sum­moned se­nior Catholic bish­ops from all over the world to talk about it from Fe­bru­ary 21-24.

Smith hopes to talk to the Pope in per­son. The Kiwi wants to give the pon­tiff a copy of his self-pub­lished book, A Shat­tered Life. It’s about his ex­pe­ri­ences in church and state care.

“I want to ask him to be more ac­count­able and help all sur­vivors [of abuse] bet­ter.”

Aged 6 in 1971, Smith was abused at the Mary­lands School for chil­dren with spe­cial needs in Christchurch. It hap­pened again when he was aged 15 in Bris­bane, at the Granada Hos­tel run by the same St John of God group.

He told an Aus­tralian royal com­mis­sion the group ought to be called “Pae­dophiles Are Us”.

“They have the high­est rate in Aus­tralia for child abuse.”

Smith says he was also abused while in state care in both Aus­tralia and New Zealand. He has re­ceived apolo­gies and been com­pen­sated by both coun­tries, but says the abuse takes a long time to get over.

“Your head doesn’t come right for a very long time. You are ac­tu­ally stuck at the age you were when you were sex­u­ally abused.”

Do­ing art has helped him. He’s also writ­ing more books about his life, and is hop­ing to go to an­other con­fer­ence for sur­vivors, in the US, in July.

“I changed my life 180 de­grees. The last time I was in trou­ble was 2009,” he said.

Photo / Peter McIn­tosh, Otago Daily Times

Dar­ryl Smith (left) shakes hands with Dunedin’s Catholic bishop, Michael Doo­ley, who is fund­ing his trip to Rome.

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