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Eight-year-old Sydney girl infected with HIV after repeated rapes by football coach

Eight-year-old Sydney girl infected with HIV after repeated rapes by football coach
April 4, 2016

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been told that an eight-year-old girl allegedly contracted HIV after she was raped by her football coach 20 years ago.

The woman, given the pseudonym BXA, told the Royal Commission that while a member of an under-10s football team in Sydney in 1996 she was repeatedly raped by the coach, given the pseudonym BKX.

It was also heard that the man would sexually abuse her while his wife was in the same room after she brought the child to him.

In evidence presented to the Royal Commission today (4th April), BXA, now 27, said her mother registered her with a football club in southern Sydney in 1996.

She said she had an unhappy childhood because her father had left and her mother drank.

BXA told the commission she felt her mother was glad to let anyone babysit her and she would stay with the coach and his wife on occasions.

In her statement which was read on her behalf, BXA told how the coach would come to her bedroom and rape her, and that it hurt and she bled.

She also said the coach's wife, who was a friend of her mother's, would come into the spare room where she was sleeping and take her "to the coach in their bedroom and stay in the room while he raped me."

Her statement added "I would see her watching and when I would look at her she would look away.

"She would either be laying on the bed or somewhere in the room. his wife would say to me 'it's OK' and 'it's alright."

When she was 11, she revealed the abuse to a friend at school. The school found out and contacted the NSW Department of Community Services (DoCS).

She gave evidence in court at the age of 13, saying "I was very embarrassed and I found the whole process very intimidating."

The coach was acquitted of the charges but was later found guilty and jailed in 2004 for sexually molesting three other children.

NSW Police reportedly told her there was not enough evidence when he was acquitted.

BXA said in her case she never understood the importance of dates and NSW Police never really made sure they got the full story.

When she was 13 she began to feel very ill and at 15 she was diagnosed with HIV.

She believes she contracted HIV from the coach because she had not had sex with anyone else or been given a blood transfusion or used drugs.

Earlier on Monday, Counsel advising the Royal Commission Gail Furness SC said in her opening statement BKX was jailed in 2004 for sexually molesting three other children

The commission is examining BXA's experiences in the criminal justice system, including her claims for victim's compensation.

Evidence heard included BXA revealing she had been abused in 1999 but that BXK continued coaching for two years before the BXA rape charge came to the attention Football NSW (then known as Soccer NSW).

Michelle Hanley, Child Protection Officer for Football NSW, told the Royal Commission that communication between the different organisations involved in administering the game was "ad hoc" in the early 2000s.

She advised that did not find out about the matter until 2002, when it was brought to her attention by Larry Grant, then President of the Southern Districts Football Association. Hanley said she was never given BXK's name.

While BKX was subsequently acquitted of the charges Soccer NSW banned him from holding any official position in clubs.

However, the Royal Commission also heard that BXK went on to referee games without authorisation.

BXA was rejected for victim's compensation in 2001 and again last year after her diagnosis of HIV positive.

Furness advised The HIV/AIDS legal centre are appealing that decision on her behalf.

The hearing into sporting clubs and institutions is expected to run for two weeks.

On Monday, Furness said 2012 data shows that in NSW alone, 539,000 children, that is 60% of children between the ages of five and 14, took part in at least one organised sport outside school hours while 75% of children between 15-17 years of age have taken part in sports in the same period.

The Royal Commission is holding a two-week hearing into sports clubs and institutions and will examine unproven allegations against well-known tennis coach Noel Callaghan and Queensland cricket coach Robert Ross, who committed suicide before his trial for 50 child sex abuse offences went to court in 2014.

It will also hear evidence from the president of the Australian Olympic Committee John Coates and other high profile sports executives on what child protection policies are now in place.

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