The following article deals with child sex abuse, which may be distressing for some readers.
In May 2019, a young woman named Alice* walked into the police station in Launceston, Tasmania.
She disclosed that, between the ages of 11 and 14, she had been groomed and repeatedly sexually assaulted by a local man named James Geoffrey Griffin — a popular nurse who worked on Ward 4K, the pediatric unit at Launceston General Hospital.
Alice's brave act rippled through the small community, empowering four other women to come forward with allegations of sexual abuse spanning the late 1980s to 2012.
But as investigative journalist Camille Bianchi has uncovered on her podcast, The Nurse, dozens more had their own stories to tell.
James 'Jim' Griffin came to nursing later in life. After years as a volunteer ambulance officer, he enrolled at university in his late forties and worked as a registered nurse on a cruise ship, at a detention centre and on Ward K.
Speaking to Mamamia's True Crime Conversations podcast, Bianchi said colleagues told her that Griffin made himself indispensable, that he was charismatic and the 'life of the party'.
But several also noticed inappropriate behaviour toward patients.
They claimed he gave children leg and back rubs, that he'd take photographs with them, handle them naked without supervision, and appeared angry when a parent insisted on spending the night in their child's room.
On one occasion, Bianchi said, "Jim was telling young girls, what their boyfriends like sexually [and] how to masturbate, in a room with other witnesses that laughed along."
Catching a predator.
With the benefit of hindsight, it appears these behaviours were symptomatic of Griffin's campaign of abuse, which he allegedly waged at the hospital and elsewhere in the community over several decades.
Survivors who've spoken to Bianchi have revealed a pattern of compliments, lingering hugs, and physical affection.
"For teenage girls, I think particularly younger teenage [girls]," she said, "you might not be the centre of attention all the time, you might feel like, 'I kind of feel a bit special'."
In some cases, he built trust over several years, often both with the child and their parents, before any molestation took place.
"He groomed whole families," Bianchi said. "He didn't raise alarm bells with a lot of people because he was a family man, he was a volunteer, he was a nurse, which has a high standing in the community.