Molested daughter's mother hits out at court findings
A TOOWOOMBA couple whose daughter was molested by a 77-year-old tennis identity said they were struggling with the court findings that he was of unsound mind.
The couple's daughter was 14 when the man was alleged to have sexually assaulted her on school grounds in 2009.
The mother said her daughter was bullied because of the incident, found it hard to hug her own grandfather and would be affected if passing a stranger wearing the same aftershave.
"What happened to our child had a major impact on her life and we are told may continue to do so in the future - like in intimate relationships and at times like when becoming a parent," she said.
"We are also concerned for children who were witnessed by our daughter to have been abused who have not been part of this investigation and to our knowledge have not been assisted to deal with what happened to them.
"Our concern also extends to other children who may have been in his company without the presence of another adult, when he was in the state that the courts say deprived him of his mental reasoning."
The woman, who sat through the three-day Mental Health Court hearing in September, said the decision was devastating.
"For people whose children have been damaged it is very upsetting," she said.
She found it difficult to understand the ruling that his mental illness affected his ability to control his behaviour - yet he never sexually assaulted a child in front of parents, teachers or other adults.
"It is difficult to conceive that a person can have a mental illness with such devastating behaviour and that neither the extent of the illness nor the behaviour were detected over such a long period of time," she said.
The mother wrote to the Attorney-General and requested him to review the case, but he decided not to lodge an appeal.
She is hoping her story may prompt Toowoomba parents to talk to their children if they believe the man had access to them.
Parents can access information on talking to their children about sexual abuse at www.bravehearts.org.au