A former Brisbane Grammar School counsellor who sadistically abused scores of children had a “conveyor belt” of boys filing through his office, an inquiry has heard.
The heavy, soundproof doors to Kevin John Lynch’s office were often closed and students filed through separate exits so no-one knew who was coming or going.
“Now I look back with hindsight, I believe that the set-up of Lynch’s room and how you were ushered in and out was effectively a secure conveyor belt of victims,” one victim told the sex abuse royal commission on Tuesday.
The witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared on the first day of the Brisbane hearings probing the experiences of former students at Brisbane Grammar and St Paul’s School at Bald Hills.
It will specifically investigate abuse carried out by former staff members Lynch, who taught at both schools, and Gregory Robert Knight.
Former governor-general and Anglican archbishop of Brisbane Peter Hollingworth is listed among the witnesses – who include former students, staff and school chaplains – set to give evidence over the next fortnight.
Recalling his own experiences in the early 1980s, the first witness said he had been “put under” by Lynch, who masturbated and struck him across the face.
At other times, the school counsellor made him ingest his own semen and inserted acupuncture needles into his testes.
“I was badly let down by this culture of turning a blind eye and ‘protecting the brand’, and it’s hard not to see it as a deliberate cover-up,” he said.
A second witness recalled being sent to Lynch for therapy after it was revealed his father had committed suicide, with the counsellor becoming a “father figure”.
“I felt really special and the abuse was the price to me of feeling special,” he said, telling the inquiry he was abused up to three times in a single week.
Lynch committed suicide in 1997, a day after being charged with nine counts of abuse relating to one boy.
The mother of a third victim, driven to heroin use and three suicide attempts as a result of his abuse, said the family had endured financial strain to send their child to one of Brisbane’s best schools.
“What did we get for our money?” she asked through tears.
“We got the worst anyone could possibly imagine.”
The royal commission continues.
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