Apology appreciated, but it won’t change anything for John’s family


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Denham, 76, was discovered responsible on October 10 of sexually abusing his 58th sufferer between 1968 and 1986. John Pirona, a Lake Macquarie hearth brigade officer, was 13 when Denham sexually abused him in 1979. In an announcement to police John Pirona described the varsity as brutal, the place he feared being bashed if individuals knew he had been abused.

“Each day to me was simply survival,” he instructed police.

Lou Pirona said he and his wife have appreciated the apology from PM Scott Morrison.

Lou Pirona mentioned he and his spouse have appreciated the apology from PM Scott Morrison. Credit score:Simone De Peak

John Pirona, 45, left a suicide letter to his household that ended with the phrases “An excessive amount of ache”.

The then Prime Minister Julia Gillard visited Newcastle on August eight, 2012, the day of Mr Pirona’s funeral, the place mourners together with Lou Pirona backed the Newcastle Herald Shine the Mild marketing campaign for a royal fee.

‘‘No individual or organisation ought to be above or exterior the legislation,’’ Lou Pirona mentioned in entrance of mourners who included the then NSW Police Minister Mike Gallacher.


Mr Pirona, a retired solicitor, mentioned the dictionary definition of “apology” was an “expression of remorse provided for some fault, failure, insult or harm”.

“In that context I believe it’s very acceptable that the federal government that represents all Australians ought to categorical its empathy or remorse that circumstances have been allowed to occur on this nation that’s enabled kids to be sexually abused, inflicting a few of them, like our son, to take their very own life,” he mentioned this week.

“I believe my son, if he had been alive, I believe John would have, I believe he’d respect it.”

Mr Pirona mentioned his spouse Pam appreciated the nationwide apology.

“However she finishes most of our discussions with ‘But it surely doesn’t deliver John again, does it?’, and it doesn’t. Nothing will do this. Nothing will ease the ache, and significantly of a mom,” he mentioned.

“Pam usually says, and I believe it’s true, that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church can apologise till they’re blue within the face however they don’t actually get it. I don’t suppose they actually get the affect that their actions and failures have had on victims and their households.”

Mrs Pirona wrote to Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Invoice Wright after the bishop in September acknowledged Tom Brennan as a baby sexual abuser, and after he issued an apology to Brennan’s sufferer, former barrister and St Pius X pupil James Miller, and Mr Miller’s mother and father.

"Too much pain": The letter left by John Pirona.

“An excessive amount of ache”: The letter left by John Pirona. Credit score:Marina Neil

“Pam picked up on that. Pam wrote the bishop a letter and mentioned that is the primary time we’ve got seen an acknowledgement by any individual in authority within the church of the betrayal of belief that folks positioned within the Catholic Church. That struck a chord with us as a result of youngsters go to Catholic faculties as a result of their mother and father put them there.”

John Denham is escorted from court in 2008.

John Denham is escorted from courtroom in 2008. Credit score:Kate Geraghty

Mr Pirona mentioned he hoped the nationwide apology acknowledged royal fee chair Justice Peter McClellan’s warning in a speech in 2015, that the societal norm that “Kids ought to be seen however not heard” offered the chance for adults to abuse their energy over kids and silence them.

“It was the outdated saying, and that’s partly how abusers bought away with issues, as a result of they might depend on the truth that kids had been in all probability taught that, and to only put up with no matter life throws at you,” Mr Pirona mentioned.

As painful as his son’s last phrases are – “Once I was younger I used to be frightened. Once I went to highschool I used to be bullied and abused by individuals who ought to have been nurturing and guiding me” – Mr Pirona mentioned they helped his household cope with his loss.

Though they knew he was one of many 58 boys Denham was convicted of sexually abusing, they didn’t realise the depths of his despair.

“I’m simply so grateful he left the notice as a result of if he hadn’t left that, we wouldn’t have put two and two collectively, we wouldn’t have recognized,” Mr Pirona mentioned.

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