Friday afternoon marked the start of a long weekend for most people in the Illawarra.
For Tom*, it was the beginning of the rest of his life.
In an almost empty courtroom in Wollongong, he watched on as the man who had sexually abused him as a “vulnerable, naive” teenager was jailed for a decade.
Tom hung his head between his hands for a moment as the sentence was read out, before turning to embrace family who were in court to support him.
He had earlier struggled to describe the impact Brother John Vincent Roberts’ actions had had on his life.
“It’s been decimated,” he said, his voice heavy with emotion.
“My life has been a continuous circle of pain...my being, my innocence and my self-expectations have been expelled as a result of this.
“I dub thee unforgiven.”
Roberts was a teacher at Edmund Rice College in the late 1980s and Tom, just 13 at the time, was a student in need of some tutoring.
Roberts offered his services and Tom’s mother, unaware she was placing her son in the hands of a sexual predator, readily agreed.
Roberts drove Tom to the university one day to use the computers. On the way home, Roberts took him to a secluded spot on Mount Keira Road and raped him.
From then on Roberts bypassed the university and their “study sessions” entirely, instead taking Tom straight to Mount Keira to abuse him on a weekly basis for the best part of a year.
Abuse also occurred in the Brother’s Cottage on school grounds, the court heard.
In sentencing Roberts on Friday, Judge Andrew Haesler said Roberts had “grossly” breached the trust of Tom and his family.
“He exploited the youth and vulnerability of his victim,” Judge Haesler said.
“He betrayed him and he betrayed himself as a Christian Brother. The assaults were planned, they were persistent and they were degrading.”
The 74-year-old was handed an overall prison term of ten years, with a non-parole period of six years.
He will be eligible to apply for parole in 2022.
*Name changed to protect identity