‘I never thought much about it until one day my mum rang me up and said, “Read today’s Advertiser”. And I was quite shocked. And then I realised how close I’d come to being interfered with by a paedophile.’
That paedophile was a man named Alan Rigby. He arrived outside Jimmy’s school in regional South Australia one day in the early 1960s when Jimmy was about 10 years old. Jimmy remembers a ‘truck pulled up with a caravan and a man preaching all about God’.
From then on, Rigby was a regularly visitor to the school, spending his time chatting with the kids. Jimmy was one of his favourites. Rigby would sit Jimmy on his lap, curling an arm around Jimmy’s back and cupping him between the legs with one hand. ‘I never thought much of it,’ Jimmy told the Commissioner. ‘I thought he was just holding me.’
As well as preaching, Rigby handed out flyers advertising boys’ camps that he organised and ran under the patronage of the Country Boys Christian Association. Jimmy liked the sound of the camp and went along.
He wasn’t abused at the camp. Looking back now, he counts this as a lucky break. In hindsight he can see plenty of clues suggesting that Rigby used the camps as an opportunity to sexual abuse young boys.
For a start there were the lectures, where Rigby would teach the boys about ‘good sex and all that stuff’. And then there was the day that Jimmy met a young boy coming out of the scrub.
‘He was crying. I said to him, “What’s wrong?” He said, “I’ve got a very sore bottom”. I said, “Should we go and see Uncle Alan? He might be able to fix it”. He said, “Oh, no, no, no. That’s okay. We won’t worry about it”.’
Jimmy considers himself one of the fortunate ones. Life, he said, ‘has been absolutely rosy for me all the way through’. Rigby didn’t even cross his mind until just a few years ago when Jimmy’s mum showed him the newspaper article, detailing how Rigby had been charged with sexually assaulting children.
Rigby was eventually sent to jail for eight years. Jimmy thinks the sentence was far too lenient.
‘They’d probably get a smack on the hand or four years. The poor child’s got the rest of their life to go through that. … The trouble is the law today protects the guilty and makes a victim of the innocent.’