In the mid-1980s when Arturo was in his mid-teens, his football skills caught the attention of Leo Moretti, a highly-respected coach in Western Australia. Moretti was ‘like a legend’; a prominent community figure and also a close friend of Arturo’s family.
A few times after training Moretti engaged Arturo in conversations about ‘manhood’ and supplied him with alcohol. He would disclose information about married men having affairs, and talked about taking a young man to see a sex worker. These discussions were framed as a ‘male bonding kind of thing’.
One of Moretti’s ‘secrets’ was that he and his friends would perform oral sex on each other. Arturo said, ‘I guess the whole thing didn’t feel appropriate – but that definitely didn’t feel appropriate’. Although in some way Arturo felt privileged that Moretti shared this information with him, at the same time he was very uncomfortable hearing it.
At one stage Moretti asked Arturo to share something intimate with him in return, saying, ‘Look, I’ve shared a lot with you, and I’m an important prominent person in the community. And I’m quite vulnerable now, because you could go and tell people this stuff ... You need to do something for me. You need to masturbate in front of me’.
Arturo ‘was a pretty strong kid’ and refused. A little while later, Moretti said that he was only testing to see if Arturo was homosexual.
Arturo remembered that Moretti always seemed to be aware of the vulnerable boys in the club and focus his attentions on them, and ‘he’d kind of ringbolted himself to the families as well’.
As an adult, Arturo recognised Moretti’s behaviour as grooming. He was seeing a counsellor in the late 90s ‘when the penny dropped around this stuff ... I got a really clear sense of what actually was going on. He was grooming me. He wanted to have a relationship – like a sexual relationship – with me’.
Arturo told the Commissioner he is concerned that Moretti may still be coaching children. He has not yet made a police report, or sought any compensation. He doesn’t feel comfortable speaking to police if he’s the only one reporting the man.
Due to his family’s traditional values, they did not really want to know about his experiences with Moretti. He has disclosed to his wife, and she accompanied him to the Royal Commission.
When they had a child, they made sure to teach him about grooming techniques, and that it was not just strangers who might do bad things. ‘Obviously, education and information needs to be given to kids ... When he [their son] was a little kid, he used to say “My body, my rules”.’