Toowoomba Prep: The Case That Broke the Silence on Child Sex Abuse in Australia
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Told through the eyes of a lawyer, Stephen Roche, this is a compelling account of the most important sexual abuse civil trial in Australian history. It begins when a young girl’s life is torn apart while attending a prestigious Anglican preparatory school, suffering repeated sexual abuse at the hands of her boarding master. After a complaint by a fellow classmate, the man is charged. On the day he is to appear in court, he commits suicide.
For the next eleven years the school and Church deny the abuse ever occurred and it seems as if Lyndal’s life will remain in ruins – her cries for help forever falling on deaf ears. It is not until she is twenty-one that her story is finally told in court, exposing the dark face of the Church and a shocking history of institutionalised denial and neglect.
Lyndal’s story evokes a feeling of anger, outrage and contempt for the powers that be and the landmark legal decision brings the highest office in the country to its knees and forever changes Australian attitudes towards abuse.
About the Author:
Stephen Roche was raised on a dairy farm on the Darling Downs and is the ninth youngest of ten children. He has seven older brothers.
He fell into a career in the law when he applied for a job as an ‘Articled Law Clerk’ with a local law firm in 1981. He is now the longest serving member of that firm. Formerly the Managing Partner and CEO, he has been an integral part of growing from a single office in Toowoomba to now having a national presence. He has spearheaded Shine Lawyers through a considerable growth period over the last two decades, and it is now the third largest plaintiff litigation law firm in Australia.
Stephen was among the first solicitors in Queensland to be awarded Specialist Accreditation in Personal Injuries by the Queensland Law Society. Stephen holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Masters of Laws degree from QUT. He is a past President of the Australian Plaintiff Lawyers Association (Queensland Branch), and a past member of the National Executive. Stephen has made a significant contribution to the protection of civil and common law rights for all Australian citizens. Regarded as an ‘activist’, he is passionate in his belief that the rights of us all are being eroded by our governments, and he is not afraid to stand up against insurance companies and corporate Australia.
A progressive thinker and strategist, he has played an active role over many years in meeting with governments and with various stakeholder bodies as an advocate for people’s rights. He has been involved in many high profile cases including major group actions against multinationals like McDonalds, and litigation against powerful institutions like churches that have breached their duty of care.
His innovative attitude in a corporate workplace also saw him direct The Shine Centre of Learning initiative. The vision began with turning a property in South-East Queensland into a residential place of learning, where staff go to acquire skills, knowledge and attitudes from national and international experts.
He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and an active member of TEC. Stephen is married to Wendy and they have four adult children. Don’t Tell is Stephen’s first book.