Daily Telegraph, The (Sydney), 09/05/2003, pg. 4
THE woman who accused Governor-General Peter Hollingworth of raping her at a youth camp had accused the Anglican Church of “covering up” the abuse in an interview shortly before her death.
Yesterday, the family of Rosemarie Joan Jarmyn vowed to continue a civil personal injury claim in the Supreme Court in Melbourne against Dr Hollingworth despite her death.
In numerous interviews over the past 16 months, Ms Jarmyn spoke of a life that was “like living in a prison with a screaming hell in your gizzards” after she was repeatedly abused by a priest.
She committed suicide on the Tuesday after Easter after telling her counsellor, her brother and her solicitors that she was under enormous pressure because she thought the church was trying to cover up the abuse.
Her son, Jack Jarmyn, 28, who is the executor of her will, said yesterday his mother’s estate would continue the civil personal injury case despite her death.
Ms Jarmyn told The Courier-Mail newspaper before her death that she was told by orphanage staff where she lived that she had no parents or siblings, despite her parents being alive, and the existence of four siblings.
She said that as a young child, she was taken from an orphanage by a priest and given to his sister, who sexually abused her.
She was sent to the priest’s home during holidays where she allegedly was sexually abused by the priest, sometimes in company with another more senior clergyman.
In the 1960s, when she reached teenage years, she reported the alleged abuse to a doctor and the offending priest had her committed to a mental hospital but she was released after about a year when she recanted the allegations of abuse to gain her freedom. In another interview last year, Ms Jarmyn told The Courier-Mail she had started to get her life in order when she went nursing in Bendigo and began attending a youth group every Friday night.
After attending youth group meetings, she went to a youth camp in the mid 1960s at which she alleges Mr Hollingworth raped her when she discussed with him the earlier abuse.
She said he approached her and spoke with her at the camp in early 1965 or 1966.
“I said they [other priests abused me]. He said I was to blame. His name sticks in my head.”
She alleged Dr Hollingworth then took her to his cabin at the camp and raped her.
“I got out of that camp. I packed up and left the camp. I went with someone going back to work,” she said.
“I felt so degraded. I never went back to that church.” Ms Jarmyn said her court action was “not about money”.
“I want people to understand the damage [caused by abuse]. I want to make sure that it never happens to anyone else again.
“I don’t just look back and say you robbed me by the sexual and physical abuse. You robbed me of my family that I never knew. I think anyone with children under church care, there needs to be accountability.”
Ms Jarmyn said she had not told her solicitors about all the abuse which had occurred because her young female solicitor was too young to know all the horrors she had suffered.
In the unpublished interviews, Ms Jarmyn said she did not want her story told in the media unless the details could be substantiated independently from her memories — because she did not want to risk either herself or her alleged abusers being given a ‘`trial by media”.
Fearing the church was trying to cover up the case, she admitted overdosing to try to get to sleep.
Medical and counselling help was arranged in the months leading up to the court case.
Ms Jarmyn attended an appointment with a social worker on the Thursday before Easter.
The social worker alerted the Crisis Assessment Team after Ms Jarmyn told the social worker that she felt suicidal when she was depressed and did not trust herself not to take her life.
It is believed the crisis team visited Ms Jarmyn twice a day over Easter and reported her to be emotionally stable and not in need of hospital care.
Police confirmed she was found dead on Easter Tuesday two days before she was due to attend a second counselling appointment.
Copyright 2003 / The Daily Telegraph