From day one of his employment in a small, regional company in the 1980s Llew was pursued sexually by his immediate boss, he said.
His parents had pushed him into a traineeship when he finished Year 12. Llew then lived alone in a new city in cheap accommodation.
Bill Nottingham ‘breached personal boundaries’ with groping and inappropriate touching on a number of occasions. Another personality in the office, Vinnie Vaughan, would pat Llew on the bottom. This made him feel uncomfortable.
Shortly before Llew turned 18 Nottingham plied him with alcohol in one of the rooms in the office and ‘raped me’, Llew said.
The abuse continued for about 12 to 18 months until a colleague told him that Nottingham had ‘another target’, called Dave Anderson. Vinnie Vaughan was also involved in the sexual abuse on at least one occasion.
‘It was a very small [company]. A lot of senior people knew what was going on, including management.’ Someone who knew what was happening had even suggested he seek some psychotherapy at the time, Llew said.
Llew also felt he was regarded ‘in a negative light’ for ‘doing things to encourage favours’, which was never the case.
Another man who had also been sexually abused by Nottingham told Llew that ‘everyone [at the company] would have known that I was Bill’s bum boy’.
Years later, when he was in his 40s, Llew’s memories of the sexual abuse were triggered when he was told to seek counselling as part of a court order. The counsellor asked why he used alcohol as a ‘medicator’ when he didn’t really like it and never really had.
‘And that brought me back to its introduction … the perpetrator used alcohol to ply into me before he abused me’, Llew told the Royal Commissioner.
Llew suffered a psychological breakdown, undertook further counselling and spoke with lawyers. Unlike two decades earlier, when in a ‘state of shock and traumatised’ he did not report Nottingham’s abuse, ‘I resolved that I needed to take this to police’, Llew said.
‘Even after the investigation it was hard to come to terms with saying I had been raped.’
When Llew was in his late 20s he recalled he had confronted Nottingham at a different workplace, seeking an explanation for what had happened a decade earlier. Llew said Nottingham admitted to him that he was ‘a gay male’, which was not his public persona.
In the late 2000s, after investigating Llew’s allegations, police charged Nottingham with indecent assault and rape. Vinnie Vaughan had a charge against him withdrawn before the trial and he then gave evidence against Nottingham.
Nottingham was acquitted after defence witnesses denied any abuse had occurred. ‘It was a real shock’, Llew said. He said witnesses could say ‘nothing happened’ by attacking key points in his lengthy police statement that were able to be rebutted.
‘They painted me to be more gregarious, and open and talkative … than what I was saying … that I was shy and intimidated.’
It was ‘extremely’ difficult during the court process of what was in reality ‘a show trial’, Llew said, in which the prosecution ‘absolutely’ ran slow.
Beforehand, he had approached Dave Anderson, the boy in the office targetted after him by Nottingham, who admitted he had also been abused. However, Anderson was not involved in the trial because, police told Llew, ‘he let us down in that regard’.
Llew’s confrontation with Nottingham in his 20s was painted at the trial as a ‘job approach’ to Nottingham.
After the acquittal Llew brought a civil action against Nottingham. He retained a law firm which made ‘lots of promises’ for a case that would be spearheaded by a Queens Counsel.
But Llew said that never eventuated. After four years he was pressured, under threat of the firm withdrawing from the case, to agree to a $450,000 settlement. The firm was paid $100,000 in fees.
He says that he has since spoken with three of the defence witnesses who helped demolish his case and they agreed they had perjured themselves.
‘I applaud what your work is,’ Llew told the commission. ‘I just think it’s just great.’