Marist College in Canberra’s south has held a service apologising to past students who suffered sexual and physical abuse at the hands of staff at the Catholic school.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse heard that several Brothers at the all-boys school had abused students in the 1970s and 1980s.
Other abuse allegations date back decades further.
On Thursday evening the school held a liturgy attended by about 200 people, apologising to students and holding prayer in hope of healing the damage caused.
Current headmaster Richard Sidorko apologised for the abuse, along with Marist’s response to allegations.
“Terrible things happened in a place which should have protected those boys,” he said.
“The responses by leaders and those in charge at the time when told of the abuse were unsatisfactory and brought pain and shame and suffering.
“I apologise for the sexual abuses which took place here. I apologise that the College did not respond appropriately when those abuses were made known, and I apologise for the pain, hurt and suffering experienced by the victims and their families.”
A plaque dedicated to the victims of abuse at the school was also unveiled as a permanent memorial.
Abuse a ‘source of shame’ to staff
Provincial of the Marist Brothers at the school, Brother Peter Carroll, said the school had failed in its care of students.
“We acknowledge the many innocent victims: the survivors and their families, the current community of students, staff and parents,” he said.
“That sexual and physical abuse occurred is a source of shame to us all.
“We apologise that we failed in our response, both at the time and afterwards.”
Some victims who attended the service said it was an important step forward, others chose not to attend.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
© 2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here.