Clinton was sexually abused by Neville Hastings almost as soon as he moved into the dormitories at his Anglican school in Sydney. He spoke to the Royal Commission and provided a written statement about his experiences.
It was the mid-1960s, and Clinton’s parents had recently divorced. Hastings taught at the school and also acted as house tutor for the boarders. Clinton lived locally, so had previously been a day student. When Clinton was 14, Hastings visited his family and somehow convinced Clinton’s mother that boarding would be best for her son’s education.
A couple of months later, Hastings took Clinton into his study. ‘And he had his dressing gown on and he pulled me across to him, and put my hand on his penis, which was, what do you call it? Very erect. And he started making funny noises and he ejaculated, and told me he really enjoyed it. I had no idea really what was taking place.
‘I was a bit shocked and I thought, oh gee, what's this all about? And I can't remember whether he tried to kiss me or, but he just said, “You know, this is normal”. It wasn't normal where I lived before. ... I don't think I'd even started masturbating at that stage, myself.’
Afterwards, Hastings told Clinton, ‘it's something that's not to be discussed, and he [said he] really enjoyed it, and he had some feelings for me. Feelings, deep feelings. This kind of confused me’. Back in the dormitory, Clinton ‘just felt like I'd been violated in some way, you know? Like I was participating in something that was totally foreign to me’.
He wondered how many other boys this had happened to before. Still, he could never tell his friends about the abuse. ‘They were all talking about women. ... And I had this abnormality taking place. Which is very confronting, very confusing, when I just wanted to lead a normal life’.
The next time, Clinton was forced to perform oral sex. ‘The whole thing repulsed me’, but ‘I was a young kid, I just felt very intimidated. There's nowhere to run. The door was locked, he's standing there.’
Other staff at the school also behaved inappropriately towards the students, including a teacher who showed Clinton photographs of naked men. Sometimes the boys would visit the house of another man who was later incarcerated for child sexual abuse. Clinton witnessed many sexual acts between this man and other boys, but rejected his sexual overtures.
Clinton told his mother he wanted to stop boarding at the school, but he didn’t say why. He also tried speaking to the school chaplain about homosexuality, although really, ‘I was trying to tell him about Hastings’. The chaplain dismissed his questioning, but it soon became apparent that he had informed Hastings of this conversation. This resulted in Hastings confronting Clinton and hitting him in the face. ‘He said, “You're trying to ruin my career. You're not a caring person. I'm treating you with love and affection”.’
Hastings raped Clinton soon after this incident. ‘He starts to undress me, and I said, “Hey, look, I really think, I think I don't want to do this”. And he said, “You'll do as you're told. You will do exactly as you're told. Now get your fucking clothes off”. I said, “No, I'm not doing it”, so he just ripped my shirt off, and he fucked me.’
When Clinton cried out in pain, ‘I think he enjoyed it’. Hastings would also get sexually excited whilst caning Clinton, and have sex with him afterwards. The abuse – ‘either masturbating or oral sex or fucking’ – continued after Clinton finished school.
Clinton finally ‘told him to fuck off’ when he was 20. Hastings ‘told me I was the only one he loved, and if he ever had a son he'd call it Clinton, and he cared for me unconditionally. And he only wanted the best for me. I don't know, the whole thing is bizarre’. Not long after this, Hastings did marry and have children. More recently, he has approached Clinton in public, warning him not to speak about the abuse.
Clinton deliberately ‘blew the Higher School Certificate’, which had impacts on his career. The abuse caused him confusion about his sexuality, and he regrets not having children. ‘I would have liked to, but [it is difficult] when you are confused and confronted by all this’. He experiences depression, and for the past decade has engaged in psychotherapy.
In 2007 Clinton made a police report. He did not feel comfortable with the explicit nature of the questions he was asked by the female officer. Although he provided a lot of detail in his statement, and names of former classmates, he was told his account could not be substantiated.
The officer suggested that he could wear a wire and speak to Hastings, in an attempt to get him to admit the offences. As he did not want to do this, the matter didn’t progress and Hastings was not questioned. The officer told Clinton this was so Hastings wouldn’t be ‘on guard’ in the event of any future action against him.
Clinton is considering reporting to a different police station to see if anything can be done at this point. He hasn’t approached the school nor sought any compensation. Now retired, he is the carer for his elderly mother. ‘I’ve only just recently told her. She said, “He’s a disgusting man”.’