Scottie's story

‘I wasn’t anxious before the encounter — but looking back, I was a totally different person after.’

Scottie says his life changed in Year 10 when he began getting flustered during exams at his Brisbane high school. ‘Someone suggested I should see the school counselor, Mr Jones, and my mother said I should put my trust in him – and I’ve had major trust issues ever since.’

Jones practised what he called ‘relaxation therapy’. ‘He got me to take off most of my clothes, then said he was going to hypnotise me … I woke up crying and in my underwear, which upset me.

‘I was pretty shaken so I went and spoke to my best mate – “This has just happened, do you think that this is strange?” And he said, “Well, don’t worry about it, the same thing happened to me last week” … From that I concluded that everything was normal.’

Scottie visited Jones at least once more, and now believes he was again abused. His belief that ‘everything was normal’ was shaken on a later occasion when he walked into the counsellor’s room when Jones was absent.

‘I found these two girls locked in a cupboard … I knew both of them quite well and we spoke about it afterwards. They confirmed that Jones had locked them in, that there had been another student there at the time – and that it was just weird!’

Years later, sexual abuse allegations about Jones were made by other former pupils.

Scottie began experimenting with ‘lots of different drugs’ at this time, and maintains, ‘that was tied up with the fact that I didn’t have faith or trust in anything anymore’.

After finishing high school, he began a degree course but dropped out. ‘Since then, I’ve drifted from job to job, girlfriend to girlfriend,’ he says. ‘I never seem to get anything finished, I don’t settle.’

Some years ago, Scottie consulted a hypnotist to assist in quitting smoking. Asked about his prior experience with hypnotism, he mentioned the incident with Jones, and was told that that this sounded unlikely ‘as apparently you don’t “wake up” from hypnosis’, and that instead he may have been drugged by Jones.

‘And so from that point on I believed that I was drugged by Jones, as were other students … I finally felt that I wasn’t alone.’

However, Scottie still looked at the world with suspicion. ‘I don’t think I’ve fully trusted anyone since … I even felt that with my parents – I drew some connection between them telling me I could put my trust in this person, and I did that and things didn’t turn out right.’

The lawyers he consulted back in the early 2000s were also a disappointment. ‘They said what I knew at the time would be worth only a certain amount of money, and that amount might not be worth the psychological problems it might cause. But I don’t think it was really their place to make that assessment.’ He also believes the compensation amount they quoted was ‘grossly inaccurate’. He recently engaged another firm to investigate a claim against the school.

Scottie married a few years ago and has a baby. The Commissioner asked if this marked a significant improvement in his attitude to relationships.

‘It does and it doesn’t,’ Scottie replied. ‘We had a major problem due to my trust issues just before we got married, which nearly ruined the whole thing. I still have a problem but I try my hardest not to make it her problem.

‘I’m better but I’m not well.’

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