Dylan grew up in the 1950s, in a small rural town where there wasn’t much for a young boy to do. He told the Commissioner, ‘You went to school, played rugby and went to the boys’ club. That was it. Other than that, you caught rabbits and whatever.’
He first joined the boys’ club when he was eight years old. The club was run by a Christian minister named Mr Osbourne, who travelled around the countryside visiting the various towns. Osbourne targeted Dylan early on and sexually abused him for several years.
Dylan said he can’t ‘peg down’ exactly how he came to be in the abusive situations but he does remember what Osbourne did to him. Usually the minister would rub his penis against Dylan and then ejaculate into a nearby sink.
Osbourne never threatened Dylan or told him to keep quiet. Dylan said, ‘My recollection is that he was quite comfortable and felt safe’. The abuse ended when Dylan’s family moved to another town.
Dylan suspects that other children were abused as well. ‘When I think back to the way they were in the club and the way Mr Osbourne was interacting, I would not be surprised.’
But if there were other kids being abused, they never spoke about it, and neither did Dylan. ‘I was so embarrassed about it. I’m embarrassed about it now, and then, so there was nothing ever said by me.’
It’s only recently that Dylan has disclosed the abuse. The idea of speaking up first came into his head when he saw footage of Mr Osbourne on TV.
‘I happened to be walking past the television in our family room and saw this guy, and I recognised him, 50 years later … He was being pursued around a church by photographers.’
A few years after that, Dylan rang the Royal Commission and disclosed the abuse for the first time. A short while later his wife saw him looking at the Royal Commission website.
‘She said, “What’s that for?” I told her. Simple as that … We just discussed it. I didn’t go into a lot of what happened because it’s still difficult.’
Dylan said that the abuse had very little effect on him at the time. In hindsight he can see that it made him more aggressive on the sporting field but mostly he just managed to get on with his life. But things changed after his children were born. He said, ‘The impact of the whole thing is probably more on my kids than anyone else’.
As a father, Dylan said he was overly protective, ‘to the extent that I was aggressive about it. And it didn’t do them any good at all’. At the same time he was reluctant to show his kids much physical affection.
‘I haven’t given my kids a cuddle since they were seven years old. Because – because of what? I don’t know. It’s one of those things where you think, “I don’t want to be put in a situation where someone just might think”. It sounds silly because they’re your kids but that’s just the way it is.’
Dylan has no plans to approach the Church but he is considering reporting his abuser to police. He hasn’t told his kids about the abuse and thinks he never will.
‘They think I’m a certain way, which I am, and I can’t change that. I’ve probably mellowed in the last 15 years, I hope. You can’t stay angry forever with your kids – and it’s not the kids that you’re angry with but it actually projects that way. And I think they’ve just accepted I’m a grumpy old so-and-so and probably that’ll be the way it is. And I don’t think by telling them it would change anything anyway. I don’t see why it should, to be quite frank.’