Analisa said she never had much to do with the local Anglican minister besides being friends with his daughter, Kathleen. Other than that, she ‘only saw him giving his sermon on a Sunday, really’.
Then in the mid-1960s, when Analisa was about 15, she fell pregnant to her boyfriend, Ray, and they decided to get married. They scheduled a meeting with the minster. His name was Frank Sutton and he had an office in his house. The young couple went there to discuss the necessary paperwork.
Then, ‘out of the blue’, Sutton told Ray to pop out and watch TV with the boys while he talked privately with Analisa.
‘And then when Ray left the room that’s when he started on about contraception and the pill and how it would kill me … Then he said, “Come around here”, so I go round and that’s when – I must have had a skirt on, he pulled my pants down and he started his abuse. Then the door flew open.’
Sutton’s daughter, Kathleen, burst into the room. Sutton quickly covered up what he was doing and began to berate Kathleen for interrupting, and that was the end of the incident.
In hindsight, Analisa has often wondered if Kathleen came in because she knew what her father was up to.
On the way home, Analisa mentioned to her fiance that the minister was a ‘dirty old man’, but didn’t go into any more detail. Over the next few weeks she began to ‘dread’ seeing him and did her best to avoid all contact.
Then one day Analisa heard her grandmother talking about a local girl who was ‘telling lies’ about something the minister had done to her. Analisa tracked the girl down and got the full story. It turned out she had also been in the early stages of pregnancy, had visited the minister and was also abused.
‘I just said, basically, the same thing happened to me … It never in our wildest dreams occurred to us to ever go to the police. I didn’t know you went to the police. We just thought, “What a dirty old man”, didn’t know it was illegal. We knew it was wrong and it was horrible and it made you feel uncomfortable and it was awfully wrong, but to go to the police – they wouldn’t have believed us. Couldn’t have.’
The two girls then went to visit another girl who lived next door. She had also been touched by the minister in the same way. A few years later, Analisa heard from another friend who had also suffered the same kind of abuse.
As far as Analisa knows, none of the girls ever reported Sutton to police. Analisa herself didn’t discuss the abuse with anyone until the late 90s, when she spoke to her parents about it.
‘Dad just didn’t believe me, he said, “Oh no, look, he wouldn’t do that, you’re making it up”. But Mum did. She believed me, but I don’t know why. She doesn’t normally.’
Around that same time, Analisa saw something in the paper about an Anglican inquiry into sexual abuse against children. She got in contact and participated in an interview.
‘They said, “We believe you, we’re sorry these things happened”. Words to the effect of, “Those were the days” or something like that. I wasn’t very happy.’
After that, Analisa never heard back from them. They had given her a referral to a lawyer so she followed that up, but the lawyer just told her that her case couldn’t be prosecuted because too much time had gone by.
Analisa is still looking into her legal options. Mostly, she said she just wants to know what happened to the minister. She knows that he’s dead now, but she wants to find out why he was removed from the diocese and whether it was because of the abuse.
‘I’d like his name made public. In other words, I want someone to address it. Even the Church to say, “These things happened”, and not pass it off as, “Oh, in those days”.’