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Casey Mathew's story

Casey believes he wasn’t the only boy his Venturers leader Gavin Walsh sexually abused, but he can’t be sure. It was the mid-1970s and Casey was 14 years old when he went away on camp with the suburban group. During this trip Casey woke one night to find Walsh holding him down and fondling his genitals.

‘He managed to get my shorts down and he was trying to masturbate me. And I absolutely shit myself, I just froze. And this went on for about half an hour. I didn’t orgasm or anything, but I just froze up.

‘And this has just caused me untold grief ever since.’

From around this time Casey began heavily consuming pornography, and over a decade afterwards developed ‘some horrible sexual compulsions’. He believes these problems were a direct result of the abuse, and contributed to the breakdown of his previous marriages.

Recently his wife researched specialist support as their relationship was in trouble and she was unsure whether they should stay together, and so they began seeing a sexologist for counselling.

It was in the first session that ‘this [the abuse] came out ... I think I howled for the whole hour’.

Until this point ‘no one even knew about this ... I’ve kept it from my parents, I’ve kept it in myself for all these years, for 40 years ... No one knew about anything, nothing about my compulsions, no one ever knew about the sexual assault’.

Once he started talking about the abuse ‘it was very raw and very nasty. I just wanted to kill him, not that I ever would, I’m not that sort of person, but I want him brought to justice’.

Ultimately his wife ended their relationship, and he continued seeing the counsellor alone. So far he has spent over $3,000 accessing therapy, and before doing so had ‘no idea’ how the trauma from the abuse was related to his behaviour as an adult. ‘It has cost me an absolute fortune of course, in emotion and finance and friends ... It’s just really sad.’

He has since told his parents about Walsh. ‘Dad doesn’t show a lot of emotions, Dad was just pretty numb. But Mum was pretty upset of course. It’s just caused me so much grief.’

Casey feels great anger towards Walsh. He tried to find his whereabouts through the scouting movement but was unable to because of privacy restrictions. He has now reached the stage where he would like to make a formal statement to police, and is intent on ‘moving forward’ with his life.

‘I think I have a lot of positives in my life anyway. I am a nice person, I am a good person. I’ve always been reasonably ambitious, I feel I have a positive effect on people. As far as the future, I guess I feel I’ve been dudded a lot of years because of the failed marriages ... I do see myself as a positive person, and can move forward and move through it, whether it be alone or with help ... I don’t see myself going backward, I only see myself going forward from here.’

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