Lachie thought it was strange when the doctor led him behind the curtain alone and told his mother to wait outside. By this stage of his short life, Lachie had rarely been anywhere without his mum, especially not a big, busy building like a public hospital. It was the early 1960s in Brisbane and Lachie was about seven years old.
Once Lachie was behind the curtain the doctor told him to take down his pants.
‘He put on a glove’, Lachine recalled, ‘and I think some moisture to it, and he stuck his finger up my bum. Then he threw away the glove … but then he fixed up my arm and got that all repaired. And foolishly for years I thought if you had any broken arms or broken legs, I thought if you need plaster they’ve got to stick a finger up your bum first for whatever reason.’
Lachie was 15 when he next encountered a paedophile. Around this time he liked to visit a café for ‘young people, troubled youth and stuff like that’. The place was run by a Christian pastor named Brian Doherty.
Doherty had a reputation for liking young boys. A few of the kids had warned Lachie about him, and Lachie took the warnings seriously. When Doherty invited him on a trip, Lachie only agreed to go because other kids were supposed to be going as well.
‘He said, “Look I’m having a whole bunch of kids out here to do a bit of work on the farm, and it’s just going to be a great afternoon. And that’ll be it. About a half a dozen kids, do you want to come too?” And I said yes.’
When the day came, Lachie took a bus to a remote area outside Brisbane and then walked half an hour to Doherty’s farm. Doherty put him to work straight away. Lachie suggested they wait for the others to arrive first, but Doherty ignored him. At that point Lachie realised that no one else was coming.
When the work was done, Doherty suggested that Lachie might as well stay for dinner. When dinner was done he suggested that Lachie might as well stay the night.
‘I didn’t feel like I had an alternative apart from staying there because I didn’t really want to walk along those things at night by myself. So I stayed.’
Doherty offered Lachie the master bed, as a ‘treat’. There Lachie lay down and soon Doherty lay down beside him, naked. Doherty began asking Lachie questions about his sex life then steered the conversation to the topic of mutual masturbation. He got an erection and tried to get Lachie to touch it.
‘I moved sharply when he put my hand on his dick. I had it there for a second then I said, “No, I can’t do this”. And he was okay. He didn’t force me or anything like that. And that was basically it. I can’t even remember where I slept that night.’
Lachie went home the next day. He didn’t mention the incident to anyone. He still went back to the café to see his friends, but he never went anywhere with Doherty again.
When asked what impact the sexual abuse had on his life, Lachie said:
‘All I can say is I’ve been a drug addict all my life. Heroin has been my main drug. I’m on methadone now and I still use whenever I can. I don’t do crime to pay for my drugs and for that reason I don’t use it as much as I would like to. And when I try to cut down on my drug use my gambling gets out of hand.’
Lachie added that the sexual abuse, combined with other troubles from his childhood, has made him extremely distrustful of others, particularly other men.
‘They say “Give everybody a second chance”. I don’t give anybody a second chance. Nobody gets a second chance with me. If anything happens, that’s it, I’ll just walk away straight away.’
Perhaps because of his distrust of others, Lachie had never discussed the full details of the sexual abuse with anyone before he came to the Royal Commission. He had also never spoken to a counsellor. But, he said, ‘I’ll definitely give it a go. I’m willing to give anything a try’.