They were slick. They were powerful. They were revered. They glided into churches, homes and schools with their carefully polished shoes and were given free reign to commit the vilest acts on innocent children, under the very noses of teachers and parents. If anyone complained, they were moved on – to carry on molesting and reaping havoc in unsuspecting parishes. For decades.
These men of twisted cloth have deceived, manipulated and destroyed lives across the globe. But how did they manage to fool my kind, feisty mother, who’d lived through a bitter romantic betrayal in World War Two, followed by a life of domestic violence with her cruel husband? Who had escaped and followed me from the UK to Australia, forging an independent, vibrant life? Whose golden years should have been productive and peaceful – until the day she met the “Monster of Merewether” and was drawn into a den of evil?
Men of Twisted Cloth is a story of secrets and lies, deception and abuse, told through our eyes – my mother’s and mine – as it unfolded piece by piece. But it’s also a story of resilience and courage, the persistence of journalists and a police strike force, helped along by the determination of Australia’s first female Prime Minister to fight patriarchy and bring an end to institutional child sex crimes. It’s a story of long-overdue justice.
Men of Twisted Cloth is both a moving memoir and a serious investigation into the rampant corruption and deviant collusion that went on in one Australian small-town Catholic diocese. But it’s a diocese that could just as easily be yours.
Trudy Thomas is an unconventional baby-boomer who lives in Toowoomba on the Great Dividing Range west of Brisbane, Australia. She migrated from the UK to Australia in the 70s, has a psychology/history degree, three children and four grand-children. She has been in an elusive search for love for much of her life and finally met her match a few years ago and now runs a successful guest house with her husband. She's very interested in current affairs, politics and only ever reads non-fiction, believing that truth is always stranger than fiction! This is her first book, and it's got a few good reviews, but the most meaningful one for Trudy was her high school Dean/artist daughter's verdict, when she told her mum she "couldn't put it down"!