‘I really think me life’s shit. I really think … put it down a nutshell … I feel like a piece of shit deep down … that I’m just a worthless piece of shit, to put it in laymen’s terms … just here for kickin’.’
Earl had a happy early childhood in Western Australia in the 1970s, until his parents divorced and his mother got a new boyfriend. ‘There was a lot of shit going down … I used to hide me brothers and sisters down the back while me mum was getting floggings and go back down and face me stepfather and dodge punches with him. I ended up breaking his neck when I was 15 … Then I left home.’
Earl told the Commissioner, ‘I had a good life … blah, blah, blah, you know, soccer, cubs, scouts. Then old Frost came along … He virtually groomed … boys … for his own satisfaction’.
When Earl was 11 he joined the local scout troop which was led by Charles Frost. Frost provided Earl and other boys with cigarettes, alcohol and pornographic magazines. Earl told the Commissioner that Frost sexually abused him for two years and only stopped when Earl left the troop.
A couple of years later, when Earl began visiting a friend who was living in a group foster home, he discovered that Frost was running the home. ‘So yeah, started again up there, you know. So I ended up, “Bugger me mates. Bugger that”. I just had enough’ and he stopped visiting his friend, to avoid Frost.
Frost did not threaten Earl, but the look in his eyes was enough to stop Earl telling anyone about the abuse. When he ran into Frost more recently, ‘looked in his eyes, you know, just the look … it still put the fear of God in me’.
Earl told the Commissioner that he didn’t tell his parents about the abuse because, ‘Strict Catholic mother and Catholic family, Catholic school all me life. If I’d mentioned it I woulda just got flogged … for lying’.
Earl’s schooling suffered. ‘I just copped floggings ‘cause I was at Catholic school. Marist Brothers and nuns … I went downhill. I really went downhill. My grades … downhill. I used to get caned once a day. Played up like shocking as … Up in front of the class and a metre ruler across your arse.’
No-one asked why Earl was misbehaving. ‘They just think, you hit puberty and you turned into a real bugger … And it’s pretty sad, ‘cause … there’s a lot of kids out there who are in the same boat.’
Earl told the Commissioner, ‘My memory isn’t the best. Hasn’t been the best for a long time. But bringing this up, a lot of memories [are] coming back, you know. I’ve kept it buried. Buried. And I reckon it’s a lot to do with why I’ve been in jail, because I’ve got no respect for authority. None at all. And it’s … first jail sentence, I put a gun at a copper’s head and pulled the trigger and that was at 16 … Angry as … still now, coppers and anything in a uniform, you know’.
Earl spoke about the abuse with his friend from the group home in the late 1990s. ‘We spoke about it and we spoke about should do something about him and then … “Well, no one’s going to listen to us anyhow” … If it hadn’t been for this, I mean, it’d still be buried.’
He told the Commissioner that ‘I’ve tried to kill meself … three or four times at least ... Drugs … I tried killing myself with heroin … I had a, geez, 10-year heroin habit … numbs it for a few hours … that’s it’.
The fact that Frost has never been charged, makes Earl, ‘pretty angry … ‘cause if he’s still kickin’, he’s still doing it, mate. And it … ruins people’s lives. It’s ruined mine, you know and like, this, I reckon … Geez, I haven’t cried in 20 years … but I’m getting teary, you know … a bit welly’. He told the Commissioner, ‘It just ruins lives. Look how full the jails are’.
Coming to the Royal Commission has ‘brought it all to the surface … It’s like a weight’s off me shoulders, too. It’s just good, you know. And … it might help me get on with life’. It took Earl some time to decide whether or not he should contact the Royal Commission, but ‘now I think it’s about time I spoke out. It’s like, get it off me chest … because I’ll never move on with me life’.
Once Earl gets out of jail, ‘I’m starting to think … I’m hoping it’s going to be different. Get this off … a bit more counselling and all that sort of stuff. I’m starting to think, geez, I like it here … I’m starting to get … I hate jail, but … I don’t know how I’m going to go out there. Talking about it’s going to help, and knowing the kids are going to get looked after … As far as I’m concerned, all paedos should be shot … I’ve got no time for them’.
Earl told the Commissioner that when he gets out of jail he is hoping that instead of turning to drugs, ‘I think getting this off me chest is going to help’ and he might just ‘go for a ride instead. Hop on the bike, you know. I might even slow down’.
Earl believes it would be helpful to place a person who is specially trained into each school, so that children have someone that they can confide in and trust, because, ‘I’ve got no trust. Trust is a big issue’.