Ex-hostel warden on trial for sex abuse

Ex-hostel warden on trial for sex abuse

A former school hostel boarder has testified in a Perth court that a warden plied him with alcohol, screened pornographic films for students and sexually abused him on two separate occasions.


Dennis McKenna is on trial in the West Australian District Court accused of two counts of indecently assaulting the then teenage boy at the St Andrews Hostel in Katanning in 1981 and 1982.

The complainant testified on Monday that he was a naive boy who grew up on a farm before he was sent to the boarding school, which opened his eyes to the world.

He said McKenna did nothing wrong for the first several months of his time at the hostel but then he was invited to McKenna’s flat with some other students where they watched pornographic films and drank alcohol.

He said there was a code of silence about those gatherings.

One night, McKenna sat in the complainant’s bed while chatting with a group of students and placed the boy’s hand over his underwear.

The complainant told the court he felt McKenna’s erection and his hand remained over McKenna’s underwear for about 20 minutes until McKenna whispered for him to remove his hand and said out loud to the group: “Ok boys, that’s enough tonight.”

The complainant said he was “frozen with disbelief” about what had happened and had not given his consent.

On a separate occasion, McKenna allegedly told the boy to visit his flat after lights out and the teenager did so believing it was another group movie night.

“There were no other students there, it was just myself,” he told the court.

The complainant said he did not recall how it happened but he ended up lying naked in bed with McKenna, who caressed the boy and masturbated him.

“Part of me was horrified, part of me was confused and scared, trying to understand why it was occurring, how and why my body was reacting the way it was,” he said.

The complainant said the incident lasted up to 30 minutes and he never spoke to McKenna about it again.

The trial continues.