LAST WEEK an inquiry investigating sexual abuse in state-run hostels turned its attention to St Christopher’s in Northam, with a number of victims coming forward to share stories of alleged abuse at the hands of former hostel warden Roy Wenlock.
The ex-boarders of the church-run hostel told former Supreme Court judge Peter Blaxell how Mr Wenlock would invite them to his quarters to wrestle with him in their underwear, simulate sexual acts and encourage the boys to bully and hurt each other.
One victim, now a police officer, said that the warden clearly received sexual pleasure from the wrestling sessions.
“I remember just wanting to get the hell out of there; I can recall sneaking into my bed and the boys asking me whether I’d been for a wrestle with Wenlock.”
According to counsel assisting the inquiry, Mr Wenlock would “wrestle” with the boys only after they had turned 14, when they were above the age protected by child abuse laws at the time.
Mr Wenlock, who is now deceased, was warden at the Northam hostel from 1963 until 1977, when local complaints made against him saw him forced from the position.
He then went on to take up a developmental position at the West Australian Cricket Association.
Despite the serious claims, one former boarder at Merredin said Mr Wenlock had never abused his position while sub-warden at St Michael’s in the late 1950s to 1960.
“While this inquiry takes in hostels in the 1970s, why don’t they go further back?” he said.
“I held Roy in high esteem while in his care at Merredin and for many years after that until his death in 2007.”
The former boarder said he was not aware of any incidents of sexual abuse at this time.
The Blaxell inquiry continues, with a final report due to be handed down in July.