When Casey reported the sexual abuse he had experienced as a child to the YMCA five years ago, the ‘counsellor’ the director referred him to turned out to be an untrained staff member.
Casey was asked what his plans were regarding police and other action, ‘trying to work out what avenue I was going down. It felt like it shifted away from them offering any sort of assistance emotionally, to it being: how’s it going to affect them?’ The organisation then ceased contact.
‘It felt like they were actually just in damage control, it didn’t feel like they were offering any help whatsoever. And then no one would answer my calls ... They never got back to me or offered any assistance.’
Casey had already reported to police many years before, when he was in his 20s. He was ‘sat down and interviewed by two police officers who had a look into it and called me a couple of weeks later and said that they had no record or any sort of – they couldn’t get anywhere with it ... That was it’.
There was a lot of violence in Casey’s family home when he was very young, and in the late 1970s his parents separated. He and his brother were sent to a holiday camp run by the YMCA in regional New South Wales, but separated when they got there, doing different activities and sleeping in different quarters.
Although there are ‘hazy elements’ to some of his memories from that time, ‘a lot of what I do remember is quite vivid’.
Greg was the camp leader in charge of seven-year-old Casey’s hut, which for some reason did not have the same two worker buddy system as the others. He sexually abused Casey, giving him gifts and telling him he was special, and saying he should not tell anyone about what was happening.
Casey did ‘say something’ however when Greg took him into one of the shared bathrooms, stating that he ‘didn’t like basically when this guy was ejaculating in my mouth, and said that in front of another adult there, and I was promptly told to shut up’. This other adult present does not seem to have acted on this information.
After the camp ended Greg somehow befriended Casey’s mother (presumably finding his home address through camp records). His mother trusted Greg because of his position with the YMCA and ‘was more than happy to get a bit of space’, and allowed him to visit Casey and his brother at home.
Greg would also take Casey away for weekends over the next couple of years. During these trips Greg would sexually abuse Casey, usually including penetration. One time another boy accompanied them when they went camping, and Greg abused them both in turn.
Casey was in his mid-20s before he could speak about the abuse. He told his girlfriend and his mother, who then got drunk and informed his father ‘against my wishes’.
Around this time he drove past the camp location by chance, then went into and angrily spoke to staff there about the abuse ‘but I wasn’t going to get answers from them’.
His mother did not take any responsibility for what happened, and this has caused him further anxiety.
‘She believed me. She was quite upset at first, but yes, I mean my mother’s never really taken on board any sort of responsibility for any part in it or anything ... I’ve never really gotten to any more beneficial place with her ... I haven’t really talked about it with my family much. They know about it, I’ve mentioned it ... I think it’s all a bit uncomfortable for everybody.’
He has contemplated taking legal action against the YMCA, as ‘they need to be accountable’ for putting himself and other boys at risk of sexual abuse by Greg. A couple of solicitors he has contacted have told him ‘the case is too hard, they weren’t prepared to take it on’.
Casey continues to engage with counselling paid for by victims of crime. ‘As a result of this happening I know full well in my heart that I haven’t reached full potential.’
He told the Commissioner that the abuse had impacted negatively on his relationships, education, social interactions, and work life. ‘There’s been waves of this sort of not coping and drinking, and basically going off the rails and stuff like that.’
At times he has been prescribed anti-depressants and sleeping tablets. He feels ‘overly protective’ of his children, has had trouble with the law, and has low self-confidence. ‘It’s basically like a virus that stemmed through everything in my whole body and life.’