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Lindsay Mark's story

Lindsay was a ‘typical’ kid growing up 1940s Melbourne with his family and siblings. When he was around eight years old he started taking music lessons, and the teacher would put his hand up Lindsay’s shorts.

A few years later Lindsay attended a boys’ group run by the Church of England, which met at the local church for games on a Friday night. A layperson called Norm organised these activities.

The boys ‘were only allowed to use the outside toilet as the priest didn’t want us children making a mess in his toilet. The area around the external toilet was well-hidden amongst shrubs and trees, and unlit. Numerous offences occurred in this area’.

Norm would lurk around in these bushes and would ‘just jump out of bloody nowhere and grab you and rub his groin up and down your backside, and put his hands down the front of your pants’. This happened to Lindsay on a number of occasions, ‘and I daresay I was not the only victim’.

Lindsay also attended a camp Norm had arranged. Norm made the boys swim naked in the river at the campground, and another man took photos of them doing so. When Lindsay met with the Commissioner he brought along some of these images, and also a photo of Norm standing naked next to some of the boys.

At one point during the camp Lindsay was homesick, and went to lie in his tent. Norm came in and expressed sympathy, then sexually abused him (including masturbation and oral sex).

Lindsay did not disclose the abuse at the time because he didn’t think anyone would believe him. For a long time he blocked out the abuse, finishing school and completing an apprenticeship. He joined the defence force for a short period, then found other work. He still feels very wary of other people and has trouble trusting them, and was very protective of his children when they were growing up.

In the early 2000s Lindsay saw a media report about child sexual abuse, and this prompted him to obtain the photos from the camp. When he read about the Royal Commission last year he ‘thought stuff it, I’m gonna throw my hat in the ring’, and disclosed the abuse for the first time. He then told his partner, who supported him when he met with the Commissioner.

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