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Abuse at naval base leaves lasting results

July 2, 2012 at 5:07 PM   |   Comments

FREMANTLE, Australia, July 2 (UPI) -- An independent review of the Australian navy found physical and sexual abuse against junior sailors at HMAS Leeuwin naval base had lasting effects.

The review, conducted by the global law firm DLA Piper, cited examples of horrific abuse at the now-closed base in western Australia and concluded the navy and Australian government failed to protect boys there, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday.

Victimized recruits recalled the violence coming from older recruits and officers.

"One of the senior people there that was doing the abusing, he used to walk around with what he called a pacifier," said a former recruit at HMAS Leeuwin identified only as Marc. "It was a lump of polished wood about a meter long. He would hit people with it."

Marc said at least half of the 150 people in his block were victimized.

Graeme Pilley said he also was brutalized at HMAS Leeuwin.

"Wasn't long before they found me and kicked the living [expletive] out of me and raped me," Pilley said.

Stevan Coll, who arrived at HMAS Leeuwin when he was just 15, said the abuse he faced there ruined his life.

"I am sure I am not the only child that was ruined. Yes, my life has been ruined by the Navy," said Coll, who went on to serve in the Navy for 40 years.

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