By MAZOE FORD and THOMAS ORITI.
The co-founder of a Sydney dance school has told an inquiry she should have done more to prevent her brother, Grant Davies, from molesting children.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is this week inquiring into the experiences of students at RG Dance, and is also looking at how staff responded to concerns and complaints about Grant Davies behaviour.
Rebecca Davies founded RG Dance in 2002 with her now convicted paedophile brother.
Grant Davies pleaded guilty last September to 47 counts of child sexual abuse, relating to dancers as young as nine between 2009 and 2013.
Ms Davies has admitted she failed to see the “red flags” that indicated her brother was sexually abusing children.
“I was a grown woman, and I was a teacher, and I was well educated,” she told the inquiry.
“There’s so many things that I wish I’d done better and I know it was my responsibility to do better.”
Ms Davies was asked about an incident in early 2002 in which her brother had a student close to him and if she recalled telling him he could not touch children like that.
She said she did not recall the incident – but also did not deny it.
“Again another example of how I failed to do the right thing in seeing this as a red flag of paedophilia and a grooming situation,” she told the inquiry.
Counsel assisting David Lloyd suggested to Ms Davies that the “culture” of RG Dance was part of the problem.
“Do you accept this proposition? That part of the culture of RG Dance, which led to the sexualisation of children, was through the costumes they were wearing at performances, and the uniform and the dance moves that they were performing?” Mr Lloyd asked.
Ms Davies answered: “I absolutely disagree. Grant’s abuse and the perceived sexualisation of the students to me is a separate issue.”
Ms Davies has been accused of knowing about her brother’s behaviour for years, but today denied she was trying to protect him.
Mr Lloyd: “Isn’t the real concern that you had that repeated evidence of boundary violations might well point to the possibility of paedophilia?”
Ms Davies: “I know that now, regretfully.”
Mr Lloyd: “Did you think about that then?”
Ms Davies: “I did not, foolishly.”
Mr Lloyd: “Do you think you should have?”
Ms Davies: “Absolutely, sorry.”
Davies was married for 12 years by the time he was arrested and earlier his ex-wife told the royal commission he was controlling and violent towards her at home, and made her feel like she was “the crazy one”.
The dance teacher’s ex-wife, who is a primary school teacher, said she repeatedly told her then-husband that she thought he was crossing boundaries with his students, by touching and hugging them inappropriately and messaging them online after class.
“I gave him my view point as a teacher and told him it was inappropriate as it was not something I would ever do, [but] Grant shut me down as usual,” the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told the royal commission.
“I ended up feeling as though I was the crazy one – I ended up feeling like I was being silly.
“He made me feel like how could I even begin to understand, [because] the kind of relationship I had with my students was nothing compared to the elite performance level he required of his children, and I was in no position to make that judgment.”