Terry McDaniel speaks out about Boystown.
Terry McDaniel speaks out about Boystown. Vicki Wood, Caboolture News

BoysTown years still haunt Terry

TERRY McDaniel was sent to BoysTown as a child to get his life back on track.

Now he tells how the De La Salle Brothers who ran the "safe haven" allegedly subjected him and dozens of other boys to brutal physical and sexual abuse, instead of the education and guidance promised.

For years, the victims of these alleged horrors kept quiet, too scared to come forward and tell their stories.

A chance meeting between Terry, who now lives on Bribie Island, and two men he knew from his BoysTown days two-and-a-half years ago brought the allegations to light.

"You always thought that when it came to the horrific stuff, you were the only one," Terry said.

"After that meeting, I sat back in the car and I cried. I had no idea how they were affected."

Thirty-five former BoysTown boys have worked with Jason Parkinson at Porters Lawyers to put the De La Salle religious order on notice.

They plan to begin proceedings in Queensland's Supreme Court.

Since Channel Nine's 60 Minutes aired its investigation into the matter over the weekend, "a large number of men" have come forward to help.

Terry believes as many as 80.

De La Salle brothers leader Ambrose Payne issued a statement which said he was deeply concerned by the complaints and he would take whatever steps were required to have them properly investigated and dealt with.

"The De La Salle brothers and the modern BoysTown organisation have a zero tolerance policy on any form of abuse," Brother Payne said.

"The protection of young people in our care is a fundamental priority."

Since Terry and others shared their stories, the police have launched Operation Kilo Lariat to investigate the claims.

BoysTown Beaudesert, south-west of Brisbane, closed in 2001, but the BoysTown charity has operated independent of the De La Salle order since 2002.

Terry experienced BoysTown for the first time when his mother abandoned him in 1984 at age 12.

"(One of the boys) showed me around BoysTown and ... what he did down in the piggery scared the living hell out of me," he said.

"He actually grabbed a chain and he just laid into the mother pig.

"He looked at me and the sheer look in his eyes. I'll never forget it.

"The only thing you could describe it as was just absolute evil.

"Then he started laying into the little piglets."

When Terry's social worker told him he would be sent to BoysTown, he told her about the piggery and begged not to go.

Little did he know it would be the start of alleged horrors.

On his first night in BoysTown, he refused to shower because the cubicles had no doors or curtains to protect his privacy.

"Two brothers came down. They flogged the living crap out of me, stripped me off and threw me in the shower," he said.

He said for the next three years these systematic beatings became "just a daily event".

Terry said some boys had been so badly affected, they had since taken their own lives.

Terry alleged he was sexually molested during his time there.

He has since confronted his alleged tormentor, but he said the hardest thing was to tell his wife Megan and his four teenage children.

"If it wasn't for my wife, I'd either be heavily into drugs or I definitely would have been in jail," he said.

Terry said his main motivation for speaking out was for those who could not.

"There are a lot of boys that have passed on that never got the opportunity to voice their voice. We're their voice now."



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