‘Every one of me mates has got a photo of them and their little boy in the shower – holding his boy in the shower or holding him up and he’s wet, you know what I mean. I was robbed big time. I haven’t got a photo like that where I can say, “That’s me and my boy”. That’s a normal daddy shot and I haven’t got it. I was too scared to get it.’
In the late 1970s, Landon was 13 and living on the streets in Victoria. His parents had divorced and couldn’t look after him and for a while he’d lived with his grandparents but that arrangement broke down. Picked up by police on the grounds he was in ‘moral danger’, Landon was made a ward of the state and sent to a boys’ home outside Melbourne. He stayed there for only two or three weeks but in that time was sexually abused by a worker on two occasions.
‘It stuffed me for the rest of me life as far as in me own kids’, Landon said. ‘I couldn’t even bath me boys, you know what I mean? I felt, I was that scared that someone was going to say something about me. It just played on me. I don’t know if it makes sense.’
Landon spoke to the Commissioner from jail where he was serving a lengthy sentence. He said the worker, Peter Roberts, had been popular with boys. ‘He befriended you, know what I mean? And you felt good talking to him. He’d talk about football, about maybe one day taking you to a football game and things that I suppose young boys want to hear from their dads. Maybe your dad was too busy or he wasn’t around.’
Roberts told Landon not to tell anyone about the abuse because he could get in trouble. Back then and in subsequent years Landon didn’t think there was anybody he could tell. His father would have mocked him and told him he was ‘a poof’. He thought later that he could have mentioned it to his grandfather, but he was uncertain at the time and then his grandfather died when Landon was 22 years old.
Landon felt guilty that he might have been responsible for the abuse. ‘I think I thought for a lot of years that I was the person – maybe because I cried and maybe because I was upset. Maybe that’s what happens when you’re crying and upset, that’s maybe how adults deal with it, you know. They push you to do things you don’t want to do.’
At 15, Landon was in a boys’ detention centre when he heard that Roberts ‘blew his head off with a shotgun’. He said hearing the news was the best day of his life.
In the mid-2000s, Landon was drunk with a friend when both of them disclosed that they’d been sexually abused as children. The men didn’t mention it again and until speaking with the Royal Commission, Landon hadn’t told anyone else, ‘not even the closest female person’ he’d known. After the abuse he ‘didn’t feel like a boy’ anymore. ‘I didn’t feel like that little innocent kid.’ He hated being around male teachers, quit school early and didn’t trust anyone. He was always highly suspicious when people, and in particular men, were nice to him. ‘I didn’t want nothing to do with them. Maybe it could happen again. You guys are being nice, what for? What are you being nice for?’
Landon said he hadn’t ever considered having counselling but thought it might help, especially with his nightmares.
‘I have a lot of dreams and in the dreams I wake up and I’m getting abused. A couple of times some younger inmates I’ve woken up in the cell, screaming you know, like “No!” – fighting with someone and I’ve woken them up and scared the hell out of them because I’ve been so violent when I’ve woken up. They’re going, “What’s wrong? What’s wrong, mate? You all right?” I’ve been pretty angry with them, like I’ve come out of it and not put the blame on them, but the aggression’s gone from the dream to them.
‘I don’t want to hurt anyone. I’m already in here for a serious charge. I don’t know if you know that, but I’m in here for a serious charge. We’re not here to talk about that, but I don’t need another serious charge at all. I’d like to go home one day. I don’t know what home will be, but I’d like to get out one day.’