Cedric Nate's story

In the late 1950s, Cedric was attending a state high school in suburban Melbourne. He said he wasn’t academically gifted but still enjoyed learning.

Cedric was very wary of one teacher, Louis Jenks, who was known for doing ‘inappropriate things’ to students. He often saw the man verbally taunting female students in the classroom and playground for insignificant reasons.

Cedric was happy he was never in Jenks’s class and went out of his away to avoid him, finding the teacher’s personality overbearing. But one day in his early teens, when Cedric left his locker key at home, he had to ask Jenks for help.

‘He came down with the master key and was just about to open the locker but he said, “That will be threepence.” He then put his hand in my right pocket and fondled my genitals.’

Cedric froze. After a short while, Jenks stopped touching him, opened the locker and walked away.

That night, Cedric told his parents about the sexual abuse. They were shocked because they respected Jenks as a teacher. Cedric doesn’t remember if anything was said to the principal or vice principal. ‘It’s a mystery to me what happened after I spoke.’ He never came into direct contact with Jenks again.

Cedric believes the abuse didn’t affect him as he was growing up because he didn’t fully understand what had happened. However, he did become more cautious around his teachers.

In his early teens, Cedric often went to a YMCA club after school. He liked sports and was eager to learn about them. However, one of the instructors always made the boys swim naked. Cedric said nothing happened to him there, but he found it extremely strange.

‘It never occurred to me at the time. I did find it strange that the instructors would come into the pool with us while we were naked. They were all men.’

It took Cedric many years to understand that he was sexually abused. He has since told his entire family because he wanted his children and grandchildren to be aware of inappropriate behaviour.

In the late 2000s, Cedric saw an article about Louis Jenks in the newspaper. He was facing sexual abuse allegations. Cedric said he was not surprised.

Cedric came to the Royal Commission to share his story. He believes that Jenks continued to abuse children in several different schools and doesn’t want it to happen again.

‘It’s important, in my view, to tell my story. No one can bring my high school reports of what happened. It needs to be on record, it’s the truth and what happened.’

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