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Unbelievable. The reason sexual assault charges against Scott Volkers were allegedly dropped.

Scott Volkers assault charges
Scott Volkers. (Photo: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Warning: This post contains details of sexual assault and could be triggering for some readers.

UPDATE:

Shocking new claims have emerged in the controversy surrounding former head coach of the national women’s swimming team Scott Volkers.

As the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse continues to investigate why charges against Volkers were dramatically dropped in 2002, alleged victim Julie Gilbert has spoken out about her experience on ABC’s 7:30.

“I was absolutely gutted. I could not believe that they wouldn’t believe me,” Ms Gilbert said.

“I think that they looked at him as a high-profile swimming coach and that we were nobodies and that all we wanted to do was to ruin his reputation,” she said.

“We were regarded as the three worst people in Australia the next morning. How dare we come forward and make these allegations.”

Ms Gilbert told 7:30 Volkers first began to abuse her when she was injured.

“He’d take me to a sauna and that that would help, hopefully, make me feel better. But of course, from that, it led to inappropriate massage,” Ms Gilbert said.

“He was living at the pool in a caravan at that time and he asked me to go to his – onto his bed… This is not a sports massage,” she said.

“I mean, a sports massage is your shoulders, it’s out in the open, it’s not hidden behind a closed door and it’s certainly not on the coach’s bed.”

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In another startling development, the commission heard yesterday that Volkers remained employed by the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) despite being denied a working with children check in 2008.

Senior executives at QAS relied on information from the Department of Communities, as well as references of Volker’s reputation, in their decision to keep extending his contract, the commission heard.

QAS’s current chief executive Bennett King told the commission Volkers was “good at what he was doing,” and that “he didn’t need a [working with children check] at that point in time.”

Mr King also said Swimming Australia would have benefitted if Volkers remained employed.

“He was still a valuable asset to them in terms of his knowledge, technically and tactically,” said Volkers.

The commission will continue to hear evidence.

Previously Mamamia wrote:

In the mid-1980s, three young girls — Kylie Rogers, Simone Boyce and Julie Gilbert — came forward with claims their swimming squad coach, Scott Volkers, had abused them while giving them ‘massages.’

The Queensland girls, then aged between 12 and 14, said he had touched their breasts and vaginas.

A committal hearing was later told they suffered ongoing and severe mental consequences as a result of that alleged abuse, and Volkers charged with four counts of indecent treatment of a girl under 16.

But those charges were dramatically dropped in 2002, after he had been committed to stand trial in Queensland.

Now, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is examining why — and some of the revelations being aired are appalling.

In one shocking revelation, the then-deputy director of the NSW Department of Public Prosecution (DPP), Margaret Cunneen SC reportedly gave the Queensland DPP advice that a conviction would be difficult to achieve because the girls were unlikely to have had developed breasts at the time of making the complaint.

That’s right: as the Sydney Morning Herald reports, Ms Cunneen SC allegedly gave advice that the girls were too young to have fully-developed breasts, and that this fact would make allegations of groping difficult to substantiate.

Another of the reasons Ms Cunneen SC gave was that Ms Gilbert had said she had an orgasm as Mr Volkers rubbed her vagina through two pairs of tight swimming costumes and a pair of shorts — a claim that Ms Cunneen reportedly found difficult to believe.

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”It is difficult to accept that Gilbert could have been sufficiently relaxed for orgasm to occur,” WA Today cites Ms Cunneen as saying.

Mr Volker’s lawyers also alleged the young swimmers had given inconsistent evidence, and were unreliable witnesses, the Sydney Morning Herald reports

Volkers was appointed head coach of the national women’s swim team within a month of the charges being dropped, and was allegedly allowed to continue working closely with young swimmers as late as 2010, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

He then moved to Brazil, and is reportedly still working as a coach there.

(Note: this is a stock image.)

Ms Gilbert told the commission yesterday she felt victimised all over again when the DPP considered untested witness statements in its decision to drop the charges.

“I felt that this interaction with the DPP was a process of re-victimisation,” she said.

“Instead of supporting me, I felt the DPP placed blame on me by questioning my credibility and character.”

She also said she had developed an eating disorder after disclosing the alleged abuse, and felt excluded from the swimming community.

“At no time has anyone from any Australian or Queensland swimming organisation called me to talk about Scott Volkers’ sexual abuse of me… I feel that they decided to side with him, rather than with me, as the victim,” she said.

Ms Boyce and Ms Rogers have also told the commission the abuse took a heavy psychological toll on them, as the ABC reports.

“I tried to commit suicide on two further occasions when I was in my late 20s,” Ms Boyce said.

Ms Boyce added she found Ms Cunneen’s reasoning about whether a sexual assault victim could orgasm ‘absurd and insulting’.

Ms Rogers told the commission: “I remember saying to the police, ‘Can you shoot me – just shoot me’.”

The commission is examining allegations that at Volkers and at least two other former coaches sexually abused swimmers between 1960 and the 1990s, and is also investigating the respondes of public prosecutors and swimming organisations to the allegations.

The hearing continues.

If this post or any of the comments bring up any issues for you, or if you need to speak to someone please call 1800-RESPECT or the NSW Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 424 017.  It doesn’t matter where about you live in Australia; they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

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