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Tennis NSW disregarded welfare of abused youth player

Tennis NSW disregarded welfare of abused youth player
April 12, 2016
Legal / Sport /

The former Chief Executive of Tennis New South Wales has conceded the organisation ignored the welfare of a junior player who was allegedly sexually abused by a top coach.

Craig Watson has told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he believed the girl's allegations when they were reported in the late 1990s but nothing was done.

The mother of the rising star, known as BXJ to the inquiry, said on Friday her daughter had felt no one believed her account when an internal investigation took place in September 1999, and the line of questioning in that investigation aimed to discredit her.

In that same month, Watson sent a letter to the girl saying the board of Tennis NSW resolved to take no action against coach Noel Callaghan, instead telling the young player to take her allegations to the NSW Equal Opportunity Tribunal or to the Police.

Callaghan was later charged with offences relating to three children but he was either found not guilty or the charges were dropped.

The current Chief Executive of Tennis NSW, Alastair Macdonald, has said an official apology may be made to the woman.

When asked whether an apology would be on the cards while testifying at the Royal Commission, he said he would have to discuss it with the board.

However, Macdonald "but my moral compass would suggest so.”

Macdonald said the board would also consider apologising to the whistleblower who was victimised after she came forward to support the young player.

Counsel assisting the inquiry Naomi Sharp put it to Watson that there had been a "complete disregard" for the girl's welfare once allegations had been reported.

Watson admitted that BXJ was never told that anyone in Tennis NSW believed her account.

Watson also dmitted that no consideration was given to whether Callaghan was a continued risk to young players, despite the investigation's report noting four other people in Tennis NSW with concerns over the coach's conduct.

The inquiry also heard that a partner at law firm Rigby Cooke Lawyers, who was legally advising Tennis NSW , said the board "must close ranks behind the decision" in an email.

The Royal Commission continues.

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22nd September 2015 - FORMER DANCE TEACHER PLEADS GUILTY TO CHILD PORNOGRAPHY AND SEX ABUSE CHARGES

5th December 2014 - SWIMMING AUSTRALIA TO CONDUCT SEXUAL MISCONDUCT REVIEW


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