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The Altar Boys

Narrated by: Abbe Holmes
Length: 11 hrs and 14 mins
5.0 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Boys with everything to live for. A community betrayed. The whistle-blower priest who paid the ultimate price.

Glen Walsh and Steven Alward were childhood friends in their tight-knit working-class community in Shortland, on the outskirts of Newcastle, New South Wales. Both proud altar boys at the local Catholic church, they went on to attend the city's Catholic boys' highs schools: Glen to Marist Brothers and Steven to St Pius X. Both did well: Steven became a journalist; Glen a priest. But when Glen discovered another priest was sexually abusing boys, he reported the offending to police, breaking Canon Law and his vows to the Catholic 'brotherhood' in the process. Just weeks before he was due to give evidence at a key trial against the highest cleric to ever be charged with covering up child abuse, Father Glen Walsh was dead. Two months later, his friend Steven also died, only weeks before he was to marry the love of his life. Ensuing investigations revealed that at least 60 men in the region had taken their own lives. Why? What had happened, and why were so many from the three Catholic high schools in the area?

By six-time Walkley Award-winning investigative reporter Suzanne Smith, The Altar Boys is the powerful exposé of widespread and organised clerical abuse of children in an Australian city and how the cover-up in the Catholic church in Australia extended from parish priests to every echelon of the organisation. Focusing on two childhood friends, their families and community, this gripping and explosive story is backed by secret documents, diary notes and witness accounts and details a deliberate church strategy of using psychological warfare against witnesses in key trials involving paedophile priests.

©2020 Suzanne Smith (P)2020 Bolinda Publishing

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    5 out of 5 stars

Sad that it needed to be written

sadly I knew almost everyone mentioned in this book and could put names and faces to those who wished to remain anonymous.

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Incredible! An evil and corrupt to the core church coverup over decades

A priest who lost his life because he spoke out about the criminal activity. Innocent children whose lives have been destroyed. The lives of their families and friends who will never recover. Suzanne Smith you are courageous. A woman of strength and determination. The vicarious trauma that you have endured to bring this information to the public will be appreciated by generations to come. Anne Holmes: your reading is exemplary. After listening to hundreds of audio books your delivery is by far the very best. CONGRATULATIONS. MAY THIS BOOK EXPOSE MORE AND BRING JUSTICE.

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  • Kent
  • 11-09-2020

It must never happen again

This book is confronting but so necessary in exposing the deep systemic abuse within the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Newcastle. It is a tragedy that so many have lost their lives and most importantly had their childhood innocence robbed from them. We as a society must learn from this and commit to do everything we can to ensure it never happens again. My thoughts and prayers for all those affected.