A man who was raped and indecently assaulted by a former teacher at Canberra’s St Edmund’s College has spoken of the irreparable and enduring trauma he suffers, saying it haunts him every night.
Marsh taught at the college and coached football to the then-13-year-old.
In a victim impact statement tendered to the ACT Supreme Court on Monday, the man said he still struggled with the embarrassment, shame and self-blame trigged by the events.
“Your actions and thoughts robbed me of one of the basic rights of all children, to be a child,” the statement read.
“The taking of my innocence for your personal pleasure can never be forgiven.
“The events of all of those years ago creep into my dreams every night … I cannot show the physical scars … but to me they are just as real, they will never heal.”
The man said the memories were an unwanted part of him that he could never remove.
The court heard following the abuse, he stopped enjoying school and instead saw it as something he had to survive.
He said the memories surfaced as he walked through the corridor, went to the gym or sat at the bus stop.
The man also detailed how he self-medicated with drugs and alcohol, dropped out of school and developed post traumatic stress disorder.
He said to this day he suffers erratic sleep patterns, alcoholism and severe mood swings — behaviours that have damaged his relationships with his partner and children.
“Sometimes it is easier for me to find a place and just cry,” the man’s statement read.
“Without my family I doubt I would be here today, as I suspect the demons and memories I carry would have won.”
Mercy not to be given because of Marsh’s sick mother: Judge
Marsh, who continues to deny the crimes, said he was in disbelief by the man’s statement.
He said being sentenced to prison would likely kill himself and his sick mother.
Marsh was found guilty of 11 charges over a series of incidents, including a serious assault when the boy was sleeping over at his house before a football match.
Prosecutor Jane Campbell told the court Marsh had shown a gross abuse of trust by grooming the victim slowly and gaining the trust of his mother.
“He assured [the mother] that she should have no concerns about him staying over,” Ms Campbell told the court.
She described how he used a sporting injury the boy suffered as an excuse to inappropriately touch him, and how he abused him at the college during school hours.
“The victim statement spoke volumes about the psychological impact of child sex abuse,” Ms Campbell said.
“That child was lost.”
Defence lawyer Greg Walsh asked the judge to consider the impact a full-time jail sentence would have on Walsh’s ill mother, as well as the difficulty of being sent to prison at his age.
But Ms Campbell said mercy should not be given because of his mother’s circumstances.
Marsh will be sentenced on Friday.