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Clover's story

‘I was a very, very selfish person when I was a young woman. All I could think of was myself. I came from a privileged background, I had no idea what poverty was. I just wanted to be a concert musician, that’s all I wanted. And when he said he was in love with me I thought, “Wow!”’

Clover’s love of music began at a young age. She was 17 in the 1960s when she started receiving weekly music tuition at an Anglican church from Gregory Malouf. Malouf held official roles in the church and at a nearby state university.

Clover was in awe of Malouf’s talent, so when his ‘accidental touch’ and words of flirtation started to occur more frequently, she was flattered by the attention.

‘He won my trust and told me he was in love with me and that I was a beautiful woman. I believed we would get married one day. I knew he was a lot older than me, but I was blown away that anyone wanted me that much. I was completely ignorant about sex. I was overwhelmed that someone so successful and well known said he was in love with me.

‘Mostly that he said “I’ve heard of men my age falling in love with 17-year-old girls before but I never thought it would happen to me”. Those were his exact words. I was hypnotised by his charisma and power.’

Some months after the tuition began, Malouf convinced Clover to strip to the waist. ‘He made me feel like I was some kind of goddess. Then he stuck his hand down my jeans.’

From that moment on, Clover and Malouf began what she described as an ‘affair’. Prior to this Clover had been a high-achieving student. ‘I was dux of the school. As soon as he started abusing me I changed completely … Honestly, he turned me into a bimbo.

‘After that it never seemed at all romantic but by then I was off the deep end … It so quickly became abusive, with him making remarks like … “I can detect your frigidity in your playing”. He didn’t like the promiscuous young girl he turned me into. He lost interest quickly. I started losing the plot, doing drugs et cetera.’

Although she was involved with Malouf, Clover began seeing Patrick, and when he proposed she said yes. She told Malouf about the engagement, who responded with ‘Will this make any difference to us?’ Although she was not yet 18, Clover convinced her parents to agree to the marriage.

‘As a result of that abuse I met my husband and I behaved very unwisely and I forced my parents to allow us to get married.’ Clover’s marriage to Patrick was an unhappy one. Patrick himself had been abused as a child and experienced numerous psychological issues as a result.

She disclosed Malouf’s abuse to an Anglican rector, whose response was ‘Is there any chance you could be pregnant?’ After that she did not mention it again for several years.

In her early 40s, Clover began seeing a psychologist.

‘Because I’d been in this miserable abusive marriage and we were poor. And I’d lost my career, I’d lost everything I ever wanted, and he represented to me a chance, I thought, to have the career I wanted … For many years I thought I was in love with my abuser. He had some kind of enchantment over me that I only got over when I saw him for what he really was – a predator with no feelings towards his victims. To him I was just a nice cut of meat.’

A few years later, Clover approached the Anglican Church for a pastoral response. She formally complained about Malouf and was told the investigation would not proceed because he’d denied the affair had occurred. The Church itself did not deny the abuse but refused to acknowledge liability.

‘They say, again, it was because the abuse occurred in the context of a … lesson arranged by the university, therefore they strongly advise that we pursue the university ... Right from the beginning the diocese said “Actually this is the university’s fault”. So right at the beginning I also wrote to the university and got a letter straight back “The university denies liability”. So I had no idea what to do.’

Since then, Clover ‘just kept complaining’. She has made four separate statements to the police but was told there was insufficient evidence to charge Malouf. ‘Even my mother said to me when I first told her, she said “Well, you were over the age of consent”. I mean, as if I knew anything at all.’ Clover has retained a lawyer for the purpose of seeking compensation and is currently considering her options.

Clover's husband has died. Clover is supported by her psychologist, friends and family, but describes the Church’s refusal to compensate her for Malouf’s abuse as ‘the central most injurious aspect of my case’.

‘I felt I was pushing against a tide of mud.’

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