After a life of tragedy, there’s finally a silver lining.
When Ben Monagle was a child, his parents sent him to Rupertswood Salesian College, an all-boys Catholic boarding school in Sunbury, Victoria that those of us in the U.S. would equate with a middle/high school. While he was there, he was repeatedly raped by David Rapson, one of the priests on staff. In one instance, Rapson used the rope typically worn around his waist to tie up Monagle’s hands so he couldn’t fight back. Monagle was physically injured as a result of the attack.
These claims have already been assessed in court. In 2015, Rapson was sentenced to 12 years in jail after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting six different boys between 1976 and 1990.
But for Monagle, there was an open question of whether he would received anything as part of a financial settlement. The school knew Rapson was a predator yet kept him on anyway; surely they had to pay something to make up for their indifference. Monagle’s situation was also complicated because he had a spotty work history — and a criminal record — that made it difficult to calculate how much money he was owed as a result of his trauma and the repercussions. Still, he’s had to fight this battle for years even though there’s no longer any question about guilt.
Now the Catholic organization has settled the case and Rapson will get a sizable payout:
Mr Monagle’s lawyer, Viv Waller, said he would receive $1,012,435, which would be managed by the courts to help fund stable accommodation and medical treatment.
“The settlement is the largest recorded award for psychiatric injury in Victoria,” Dr Waller said.
The settlement also requires that the Salesians cover Mr Monagle’s legal costs.
“Previous court awards for general damages for mental harm have been in the $300,000 to $400,000 range. Hopefully, this paves the way for a significant increase in awards of general damages in sexual abuse claims in Victoria.”
There’s no way to calculate the amount of damage that a predator priest can cause. For all the blemishes on his personal record, you have to wonder how differently his life might have turned out had the leaders of that Catholic institution not fed him to the wolves. This amount of money, while a kind of record, doesn’t really make up for everything Monagle went through. It’s just something. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church won’t even notice it’s missing.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Chris for the link)