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Carter Ian's story

As a child, Carter was fascinated with trains. ‘It was just a hobby that I liked at the time’, he said. ‘Anything to do with them, whether it was ripping up the track and laying a new one or something, it was something that [I] really enjoyed.’

Carter was keen to work with trains, but never thought he would get the chance. However, that changed in his early teens when his grandmother showed him an advertisement for volunteer workers at a local railway.

Carter called the number immediately and learnt that accommodation and supervision would be provided, and that he would receive discount train fares.

Carter was offered a volunteer position, and an arrangement was made for him to work at the railway once a fortnight while he continued to study at school. He recalls being excited to use his fare discount whenever he visited the railway.

When Carter began volunteering, he was introduced to Neville Sanders who was a senior guard. Sanders was well respected in the area, but he was a scary man and Carter only interacted with him when he had to.

Work at the railway was manually demanding. Carter spent his time cleaning the railway and assisting with track changes. He described the tasks as slave labour, but didn’t mind the work because it was his hobby. Sanders complimented Carter on his work, and eventually asked him to accompany him on a long train journey.

Carter knew the journey would take an entire weekend. He was keen to impress Sanders so he immediately asked his parents for permission to go. The following weekend, he met Sanders at the railway.

However, before embarking on their train journey, Sanders took Carter to his house to get some rest. Here, Carter was sexually and ritualistically abused by Sanders.

‘He put a garden hose in me backside and tied me to a kitchen table. He kept fondling me.’

Sanders also tortured Carter by pouring hot and cold water over him. Carter was so frightened that he had no choice but to lay there and take the abuse. There was no one to call out to because Sanders’ house was far away from town. He felt trapped.

Sanders threatened Carter not to tell anyone about the abuse, and said no one would believe him even if he did tell.

The next day, when they went to the station, Sanders acted as if nothing had happened. After they returned, Carter made sure he never came across Sanders again.

On another occasion, about a year later, Carter spent the weekend in the railway accommodation. The journey home took over two hours, and he was too tired from the work he had done that day. Several other boys did the same, and they were supervised by Murray Elkin who was another senior worker at the railway.

Carter was sexually abused by Elkin several times over that weekend. Elkin’s abuse was relentless, and Carter and the other boys were too scared afraid to tell anyone.

Elkin abused Carter and the many of the other boys regularly. ‘He’d take two or three of us away for a weekend in the car. He’d play with one person somewhere and leave you there and go off with another one.’

Carter never told anyone about Elkin or Sanders. He loved working with the trains too much and he didn’t want to stop volunteering.

However, his behaviour started to change. He began fighting with his siblings and drinking alcohol. He was kicked out of school for being disruptive.

‘I’d do anything to make the house erupt.’

One afternoon, Carter’s mother overheard him having a conversation about Elkin. When she took the phone off her son, the boy on the line then told her about the abuse Carter had endured. Carter then confirmed his story.

His mother immediately called the police and reported Elkin. Carter, his mother and several other victims went to the local police station and gave their statements. Elkin was charged with multiple child sexual assault offences and jailed. Carter later received a modest compensation payment.

Carter also reported Sanders to the police, but the charges against him were dropped because there was ‘insufficient corroboration’. Sanders was not dismissed from the railway.

Throughout his teens and adulthood, Carter questioned his sexuality and took several years to accept that he was gay. He abused alcohol for many years, and feels guilty for introducing other victims to the railway. He has had suicidal thoughts, is hypervigilant and is overprotective of children.

More recently, Carter again reported Sanders to the police. This time, several other victims came forward, and information that Sanders had previously been convicted of child sexual abuse came to light.

Sanders was charged with multiple offences and was jailed. Carter said he was supposed to serve eight years in custody, but died several weeks after the charges were laid.

Carter received a second modest compensation payment.

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