Inspired suddenly at an ANZAC Day march, Tyrus decided he wanted to join a pipe band. His close-knit family loved the idea and Tyrus took up an instrument. He found he had a talent for it and by the age of 15, in the late 1980s, Tyrus had joined for a top-tier band.
One of the instructors in the band was Ted Langley, a tall, imposing man in his 30s.
‘I knew Ted, but not as a friend or anything like that’, Tyrus told the Commissioner. ‘He was just a member of the band.’ That changed when the band travelled to play at an annual event. Tyrus believes Langley organised the accommodation. He found himself billeted with the older man, sharing a bedroom.
‘I remember it was so late at night that I was asleep. I woke up to Ted trying to touch me. I pretended that I was still asleep, I rolled over onto my side to face the wall and he pulled me back by my shoulder and hip to lie flat on my back. He put his hands under the blanket and touched penis and groin area with his hands, and would be touching for a while.’
‘I was absolutely petrified … It was the first night there and Ted was not a little person. He was a big guy. I didn't know what to do.’
Langley’s abuse was repeated every night of the trip, which lasted a week. Tyrus was confused and frightened. He became too scared to sleep, but did not know how to stop Langley coming to his bed after dark. ‘I never told anyone about it because I was embarrassed and I was scared that Ted would find out that I've told people about what happened.’
After they returned Tyrus continued to work hard with the band. Langley developed an obsession with him and began to buy Tyrus presents – all music and band related, so that the gifts seemed to be the act of a dedicated mentor and patron. Langley made friends with Tyrus’s parents and wormed his way into family life. He would turn up on Friday evenings and stay the weekend.
‘My parents didn't think too much of it. Ted was always friendly with my parents and they assumed we were good friends, so never questioned him coming to stay on weekends.’ When the house fell quiet late at night and the family was sleeping, Langley would find Tyrus in his room and sexually abuse him.
The abuse continued for eight years.
‘I was old enough to know what was going on. It was no longer a one-off, it was now happening at home all the time and I felt like I couldn't tell anybody. I had been warned by Ted, saying “Don't talk about this stuff”. He would tell me, “You know what would happen”. He was very calculating and would tell me not to say anything to anyone, I felt like he was controlling me.’
Ted’s obsession played out in many ways. When Tyrus began an apprenticeship Ted regularly followed him home from work in his car. Ted sabotaged Tyrus’s friendships with other people, male and female. He would call the family home constantly. Ted even followed the family to a caravan park one summer and watched them holiday, from a distance.
Langley’s hold on Tyrus was tight, right into his early twenties. ‘I felt like Ted had me believing that I was nothing in the world without him … He told me that everyone in the world wanted to see me fail.’
Eventually Tyrus felt strong enough to push Langley away and get on with his life without him. Tyrus married and had children, but because they moved in the same circles Langley was never really gone from his life. Tyrus kept his abuse a secret. He felt he could not tell his parents, who had always been loving and supporting. ‘I couldn’t. I knew that it would hurt them immensely.’
Tyrus eventually told his parents about the abuse and they were shocked to hear the entire story of their son’s 10-year ordeal with Langley.
Tyrus told his story to two senior policemen who were relatives of his wife. ‘They told me to sweep it under the carpet and don’t tell anybody, and it was at that point when I say my life unravelled.’
Tyrus became very depressed. His marriage foundered. ‘My wife didn’t like the fact of what had happened and that people now knew. She left me. So I lost my wife, my house and my children.’
Because of the abuse Tyrus ‘literally lost everything with this man. I think of it like a ripple effect, on just how far this spans out … It’s affected so much … I think him still being out and about, still living his life as if I didn’t matter, really bothers me.’
Tyrus has now sought counselling and finds it helpful. He has reported Ted Langley to the police and has found the experience ‘absolutely brilliant’. He supports the work of the Royal Commission. ‘I want results … I’m sure I’m not the only one, so anything that can be used that I can help to prevent any more I’m happy to do.’
To Tyrus, ‘Compensation’s not a major thing, but I’ve lost so much in it. I feel like Ted owes me. I worked three jobs and paid my house off and I lost it all. I lost my business and I lost everything with that. You talk about compensation and I don’t even know what you’d ask for. I have no idea. What I’d like is everything back that I had before.’