‘I’m doing this because I’ve got a family now and I’ve got a new son too and I want to be able to provide for him … That’s the only reason … I don’t want to see him go through this shit that I’ve had to go through.’
Ted was made a state ward in New South Wales when he was six months old. While at a state-run primary school in Sydney in the early 1980s, he was sexually abused by a school-appointed psychologist at a large Sydney hospital.
‘The first time I was ever touched, it was by a psych … I think I was about nine … Other shit happened there but I just can’t remember it. I don’t know if I’ve blocked it out … That was like one of the worst.’
Ted was living in a government-run children’s home at the time and had no one to tell about his abuse.
‘I was always drummed into as a young boy not to tell. It’s us versus them. Always. Even [in] the boys’ homes.’
When Ted was 10, he and a friend, Ben, were taken on a camp by a number of male staff from the children’s home. They stole a cask of wine and one of the men caught them drinking it. The man said the boys would not get into trouble if they performed sexual acts on him. The boys felt they had no option but to agree. The man and another male staff member then sexually abused both Ted and Ben. The abuse included making Ben anally penetrate Ted while the men watched and masturbated each other.
‘He was a seedy fucker, mate … even, like before he even got me and Ben … he tried to lure us … I used to escape all the time. I was an escape artist … but that night because of the alcohol and that he just got us.’
Ben took his own life some months later. ‘My mate’s dead because of him. My friend knocked himself over that … He’d try and look after me. He felt so bad over it because they pretty much made him rape me.’
Ted’s schooling was limited and he was in adult prison soon after turning 18 years old. He committed a serious crime and received a long sentence. The victim of the crime was a sex offender. His hatred of sex offenders has landed him back in jail, and extended his sentences, on a number of occasions.
‘You always end up with sex offenders – it’s part of jail. You can live with that … I’ve dealt with it my own way, you know what I mean. I’ll never let a sex offender do jail easy … I don’t bash them anymore … but don’t worry, I’ve got my own little ways to make their lives [difficult], know what I mean … You put a sex offender in with me in a locked cell at night, I’m not going to guarantee his safety.’
Ted found preparing to speak with the Royal Commission confronting and difficult, ‘I’ve psyched myself up for this … It’s really uncomfortable … It’s really awkward for me’. His flashbacks and anxiety have increased and he has had to find ways of managing his anger that don’t involve violence because he wants to leave jail behind.
Ted’s family means everything to him and he is keen to find services to assist him when he is back in the community.
‘I’ve never spoken about it … It confuses your sexuality and shit like that … and at that age you don’t even know what they’re doing [is] wrong … You don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong.’
As a kid Ted used to run away from the homes and from school because of the abuse. He still can’t understand why no one asked him why he was running away.
‘I always used to escape. Every chance I had … When kids escape all the time, maybe you should look into why they’re escaping.’
Ted told the Commissioner that he is assisting police to track down and charge his abusers and will pursue compensation from the New South Wales government. He still wonders why men were allowed to supervise the boys in the homes.
‘The worst one that ever happened to me was on camp. Why have you got so many blokes and no females? No females. Do you reckon that behaviour would’ve gone on in front of a female? … My aim is preventing and stopping it. There’s no point knowing about something and doing nothing about it.’