Malcolm Paul's story

Malcolm was a quiet, trusting boy who had no problem making friends. He grew up in a small town west of Sydney in the 1980s and 90s and did very well at school. When he was 10, he joined a local sports club.

His big brother was in the club already and was being coached by an older man called David Waters, who had a stellar reputation as a trainer of champions. He was not officially affiliated with the club but he was closely connected.

Waters started sexually abusing Malcolm almost straight away. His wife Isabel would serve Drambuie and scones to Malcolm in their lounge room and then Waters would take him down to the back shed for ‘personal development massages’.

Malcolm’s father would pick him up on his way home from work, completely unaware that after these perfunctory massages, Waters was showing Malcolm pornography and masturbating him.

Malcolm is certain that Isabel knew what her husband was doing. ‘She was present in the house … this butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth old lady … She was quite aware of what was going on.’

The ‘massages’ happened twice a week until Malcolm was nearly 15. He was left in no doubt that Waters was abusing other kids as well. Waters had a book of measurements in which he’d written the distances of different boys’ ejaculations. He’d show this book to Malcolm and compare him to the others.

The abuse escalated to penetration. Waters even offered to get prostitutes for Malcolm. During this time David and Isabel were grooming Malcolm’s parents.

When Malcolm was 12, Waters introduced him to another man called Andy Pederson. He was also involved in sport. When he first walked into his house Malcolm noticed pornography on the TV.

Waters took him to Andy’s place a few times. ‘I could draw a map of it today … of his whole property.’ Pederson would masturbate while Waters sexually abused Malcolm. They also swapped porn in front of him.

At school Malcolm was getting aggressive. ‘I had fights at least once a week in the schoolyard.’ But because his grades were so good no one challenged him.

Then one day, when he was 15 or 16, his parents took him aside. His cousin Janice had been sexually abused by David Waters, they told him. Had Waters ever abused Malcolm?

Malcolm said no. He’d stopped playing sport by now and was preparing for the Higher School Certificate. He wanted to leave all that stuff behind him.

The other kids that Waters had abused through the club also denied it. When the police found photos of Malcolm at Waters’ house he still denied it.

Janice’s case went to court. Malcolm’s mother and other parents stood up in court and said that nothing had happened to their children. David Waters was found guilty and received a minor charge.

The incident divided the family for years.

Malcolm kept the sexual abuse buried for years. ‘The stress of people knowing, staying quiet … I was the studious kid in the front seat … shutting it all out and I did that till 2006.’

He drank heavily and worked hard but under the stress of a high-performing job, cracks started to show. He was self-harming and could not form relationships. He finally broke down at work.

‘The first person I told, I just cracked up.’ He was given counselling as a result.

He also told his parents about David Waters’ abuse. They tried to talk to Waters but Isabel said he was too sick to see them.

His mother and father broke all contact with Malcolm for a while. ‘They just couldn’t handle it … It caused a lot of damage to them as well.’

Malcolm has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and PTSD and is heavily medicated. He has a good support network but it’s impossible for him to work fulltime. He’s determined to get his life back in balance so he can return to fulltime work again at some point.

He’d also love to have a relationship and have some children of his own.

He’s never reported Waters or Pederson to the police and he doesn’t know if anyone else has.

‘I think anyone he trained was molested … Half the people … in his book are not with us anymore. They committed suicide.’

Malcolm is now keen to make a police report. Waters has since died but Malcolm has his wife Isabel in his sights. ‘She was just as bad as him. Just as guilty as him … complicit in all the abuse and the grooming of my family and myself.’

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