‘I’m really happy that you guys [the Commissioners] are doing what you’re doing. It is needful both to help victims and encourage them to come out and get sorted and also if you can put steps in place to stop other people going down [my] track.’
Linton grew up in regional New South Wales in the late 1950s. When he was four years old his best friend was a girl who lived next door and was the same age.
‘[One day], I never thought much difference between boys and girls at that age besides the fact that she had longer hair and wore skirts instead of shorts, she just squatted down in the front yard to take a pee ... and that was the first time I realised that that part of a girl was different to a boy.’
The children continued to investigate each other’s bodies. Linton’s mother found them and she became very upset.
‘She really made an issue out of it … That was the end of that friendship and that did have a detrimental effect on me … She was my first ever real friend.
‘From that point on I just thought, I won’t be telling Mum about this [sex].’
Linton attended a small local public school where he was sexually abused by a young female teacher when he was only seven or eight years old. After a swimming excursion, Linton became dirty with grease and oil when he helped the school bus driver fix the bus after it had broken down. The female teacher helped clean him.
‘[I] had to get cleaned up … she went and got some warm water and soap and ... then she took me into the men's … toilet … she proceeded to sort of arouse me sexually with her soapy hands … That was quite confronting.’
Linton was again sexually abused at the school when he was 11 or 12 years old. He stayed in the classroom during lunch to practise his reading with a young female prac teacher. Out of the blue, she began to ask him questions about girlfriends, something he found uncomfortable.
‘She came along and leant over the bench and showed me a bit more of her cleavage than was proper and that … got me a bit aroused and she made the excuse that she wanted to take me to the library to get some books and that resulted in me losing my virginity.’
Linton has difficulty seeing this as rape or sexual abuse and, at the time, didn’t tell anyone about either incident of abuse.
‘I was happy to go along with it. I thought all my Christmases had come at once because it was a fulfillment of what had become a major curiosity in my life … I just assumed that was how we all learned about the birds and the bees.’
He never reported the abuse to his mother or to another teacher.
‘I was fairly careful and devious with some of the things I did tell Mum.’
Linton was shy and timid around girls and didn’t form any relationships in either primary or high school.
‘Just from my own analysis … I think that probably resulted from what happened when I was only four with the girl next door … It made me fearful of forming relationships with girls least it would come apart at the seams again.’
His boundaries around sex were blurred by his early sexualisation and he became focused on matters involving sex. When Linton was in his early 20s he indecently exposed himself to a group of school girls and received a two year good behaviour bond. He was also required to seek psychiatric assistance.
Linton married and he and his wife had several children. When his daughter reached the age of seven or eight years, he began sexually abusing her. Prior to this he had sexually abused the daughters of family friends. At the time, Linton saw his behaviour as fulfilling a natural curiosity he assumed all young children experienced.
‘I thought what had happened to me was a good thing and I thought what I was going on to do was a good thing for the kids. I thought I was helping them, teaching them … thought I was just fulfilling a curiosity that I had had.’
It wasn’t until the 1990s when Linton was 42 years old, that he gained some insight into his behaviour. He read a newspaper article about the harmful effects of child sexual abuse.
‘It was sort of like a real lightbulb moment for me, really. I first realised one, that I had been harmed and also what I was doing was harmful. Which I didn’t think it was up till that point. And I immediately insisted that I couldn’t do it anymore.’
After reading this article, he voluntarily sought counselling support to address his behaviour and attitudes. He also talked to his wife and his daughter and the three of them went to counselling together.
He now believes that much of the counselling he received over the years has been detrimental. He has had recommendations to read specific material about diverse sexual practices, has had counsellors who have not listened or attempted to understand his situation, and even a community practice nurse who was sexually inappropriate in his counselling sessions.
He also believes that none of the health providers who assisted him reported his behaviour even though he talked about his abusing of children.
‘No one ever told me they’d have to.’
Linton has now been charged and convicted of child sexual abuse, after pleading guilty to the charges which all date from before his decision to stop abusing young girls.
In jail he has gone through a medium intensity sex offender program and has found it invaluable. The program made him think about ‘the why’s, why did I do it’ and ‘reinforced and underpinned my absolute desire to never go there again, you know, to never ever harm anyone else’.
His children are now estranged from both he and his wife but his wife always supported him.
He has never reported his own abuse to police and if he were to receive any compensation from the government for its breach of duty of care in his case, he would donate it to his victims.