At first the game of wrestling seemed harmless. Having visited his Year 7 teacher’s home with other boys from his prestigious South Australian Catholic school once before, Danny had no reason to mistrust him.
Danny told the Commissioner, ‘Mr Lindsay sometimes came over to tutor me after school, and would stay for dinner with us, so my parents knew him fairly well. Sometimes he’d take students out bowling, or to the movies. Looking back, it was typical grooming behaviour’.
On his second visit, in the 1990s, Danny found himself alone with Mr Lindsay.
‘We were mucking around, then he stuck his hands down my pants and got an erection. He rubbed himself against me, and ran off. I still think I’m lucky in terms of what didn’t happen. The same thing went on the next visit when I stayed over with some other boys, and after that I made excuses not to go over.’
Danny said following the abuse, his grades went from average to poor. Some years later, when he saw Mr Lindsay put an arm around his younger male cousin, he decided to act.
‘I sent him a letter threatening to go to the school and dob him in if he didn’t give me some money. When I checked my bank account and saw I hadn’t been paid, I went to the school. I wasn’t thinking right.’
Danny recalled meeting with the head of the junior school to report the abuse, and explain the letter.
‘He said, “Do you realise you’re in very big trouble for writing that letter?” He said the police would be involved, that sort of tone. I just remember thinking, holy hell, I have to get to the police station and explain my side of the story.’
After the meeting, Danny said he drove to the police station, but couldn’t wait to see the detective as he had to get to work.
‘They took my number plate, and next thing I was pulled over by a couple of detectives. They arrested me and took me in on extortion charges. It was pretty traumatic to say the least.’
Danny was interviewed and released. The following day, police arrived at his home to take a statement about the sexual abuse.
‘Then my parents and I had a meeting with the school and the head of the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) at the time came along, he was an ex-scholar of the school and took an interest. The headmaster went on the attack, basically accusing me of spreading rumours. He acknowledged there had been other accusations against Lindsay, but kept saying they were unfounded and that my story had inaccuracies.’
Danny said the DPP advised him the case ‘wasn’t worth putting through’, and now wonders if the advice was swayed by a conflict of interest. The extortion charge was later dropped.
In the early 2010s, police contacted Danny for a statement as someone else had come forward alleging they had been sexually abused by Mr Lindsay. He provided the statement, but declined further involvement in the investigation.
‘They were asking about carpet and couch colours, and a lot of those details have just gone from memory. I’ve got a wonderful life, a great job, wife, three beautiful kids, I didn’t want to pursue a case against Lindsay.’
A short while later, the school contacted Danny out of the blue.
‘It led to a mediation process that took nine months. I got to write an impact statement, I got an apology and they paid me $125,000. It was an indication of how seriously they’re taking it, and how scared they are. But life is good for me, couldn’t be better really.’