‘I thought I was just a bad kid, taking drugs to get high … just to lose my inhibitions and stuff.’
In the 1990s, Flynn began Year 8 at a private Anglican school in Victoria. ‘I met a friend called Alex. Alex had been groomed for some time by Colin Waters, and Colin Waters left the school the year I got there, or a couple of months before I got there. And then he used Alex as a vehicle to get boys from [the school] to go to his house.’
Waters had a number of boys ‘hanging out with him’ at his house near the school. He was ‘probably, most definitely spiking our drinks with ketamine or ecstasy or … but we were actively smoking marijuana there and were introduced to alcohol and gay pornography’. Flynn was 13 when he first went to Waters’ house.
At that time Flynn had ‘a family breakdown. My parents’ relationship. So I think Colin Waters sort of got these kids around his house that he knew were a bit broken, I think, a bit vulnerable’.
Flynn is certain that Alex and Waters ‘had a very, very, what I would say, close relationship … and in going there for the first time, to have pornography on the television, while we were there, we were smoking marijuana, alcohol … Alex wasn’t surprised about that’.
On this first visit to Waters’ house, Flynn didn’t say anything. ‘I was pretty nervous and disgusted, but at the same time, I was high on marijuana, and I wasn’t very old, so …’
Flynn told the Commissioner that, ‘the kids were always naked around his house and you know, he’s taking photos … I was stoned and he’d obviously put, must have been ketamine, because I was just frozen, I couldn’t move’.
When Flynn woke up ‘frozen’ during one visit, he discovered Waters masturbating him.
‘Then he took photos. I knew that Colin had taken a photo of me right after he’d molested me … because I heard the flash go off.’ Flynn has been to the police recently, and when they raided Waters’ house they found the photograph among several thousand others.
There is reason to believe that, while he was teaching there, Waters was removed from the school for abusing boys. Flynn’s friend, who accompanied him to the Royal Commission, commented that he’d seen documents confirming this.
Flynn went to the police after he read that Waters had been convicted for the abuse of boys at the school in the early 1980s. ‘I thought, fuck it, I’ll get this guy for what he did and for how he sort of affected my life as far as my mental health.’
It makes Flynn angry to think that the school may have been aware of Waters’ activities and did nothing to prevent him from continuing to abuse children after he left. He feels ‘that they should be made accountable … [They] should at least have watched the guy’.
During Year 9 Flynn had a breakdown, ‘a drug-induced psychosis … and I tried to kill myself’. He was sent to a mental health facility for two months, but no one asked him about the drugs and there was no investigation into why he tried to end his life.
‘I’ve had problems now for all my life, worrying about … you know, I was on the pension because I was worried about people spiking my food, my drinks, having psychosis all the time … and the fact that he was filming me, taking photos of me … kind of made me think … that people were watching me.’
Flynn never really spoke about the abuse to anyone, even though he has seen many mental health professionals. When he told his mother, she told him he should get over it and move on.
‘I didn’t really talk about it that much because I was embarrassed about it … It was more just dealing with the fact that I kept thinking people were poisoning me … but I never put two and two together, saying, “Oh, it’s a result of me getting high on whatever he was putting in our drinks”.’
Flynn told the Commissioner, ‘I’m pretty pissed off … I’m lucky I’m still here because I’ve attempted suicide many times … and I didn’t have any problems before [Year 8] … I’d probably be a lot more successful than I am now if I’d never been introduced to drugs at the age of 13, and assaulted’.
Flynn suffers from serious mental health issues, including ‘massive fear and anxiety’. He takes a number of prescribed medications, and needs Valium to help him sleep. He also has flashbacks all the time, which he finds ‘very disturbing’.
Although Waters wasn’t a teacher at the school at the time of the sexual abuse, Flynn argues that he wouldn’t have been introduced to drugs at such a young age or put in the position to be abused, if he hadn’t gone to the school. Alex would not have been able to procure him and the other boys, on behalf of Waters.