Survivor of sexual abuse by paedophile coach Ian King sues Cricket Australia and Cricket ACT

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A survivor of childhood sexual abuse by former ACT elite junior cricket coach Ian King is suing Cricket ACT and Cricket Australia for the disastrous fallout of his abuse, lawyers for the man have confirmed.

On Friday, Arnold Thomas and Becker Lawyers issued a writ in Melbourne’s Supreme Court, seeking damages and compensation after the man was “robbed” of his childhood and suffered “significant mental health disorders which have impacted his life and career prospects.”

The plaintiff, a member of elite ACT junior development squads in the early 1990s and 13-years-old when King’s abuse of him began, reported the matter to police in 2006.

A remarkable aspect of the case is the discovery of a police statement given in 2006 by a coaching colleague of King’s, who confirmed that Cricket ACT was aware of King’s reputation as a sexual abuser when he commenced his decade-long stint coaching ACT junior teams.

In the statement, seen by ABC Sport, former ACT junior coach and team manager Ray Hatch told police: “Within this first year that Ian was with ACTCA, rumours were circulating the Association that Ian liked little boys.”

Ian King during his time as a coach of the ACT U17 cricket team in 1992. 

“This information came from the interstate cricket community that Ian had come over from, I think it was Western Australia.”

“As a result of these rumours, Richard Done, who was the director of coaching ACTCA at this time, and I kept an eye on Ian’s interaction with the young children.”

“As far I knew everything was fine and there were no incidents with Ian.”

In reality, King was a prolific abuser of boys in his elite ACT Under-17 and Under-19 squads in the decade following and is currently serving a 19-year jail sentence for a string of serious sexual offences against boys he mentored in the 1980s and 1990s.

Now the cricket operations director of USA Cricket, Richard Done did not respond to interview requests from ABC Sport.

In the decade before his stint in Canberra, King had also coached elite Western Australian junior representative teams. In the late 1960s, King enjoyed a successful but brief career as a fast bowler in Queensland’s Sheffield Shield team and was also a professional boxer.

‘His hopes and dreams in cricket were destroyed by this predator’

Arnold Thomas and Becker abuse lawyer Jodie Harris, who is representing the victim, said Cricket ACT (then the ACT Cricket Association) had knowledge of King’s previous offending before engaging him in positions where he was in contact with children, including private coaching sessions and visits to the boys’ houses.

Harris said the claim against Cricket ACT and Cricket Australia alleged they “failed to protect the boys on a number of fronts”, not only failing to carry out proper background checks, but failing to supervise King, failing to warn parents that he was a danger to children and failing to develop “proper policies or procedures to ensure that children placed in his care were protected from his predatory behaviour.”

“As a consequence of these failures, our client was exposed to repeated abuse from this predator,” Harris said.

“The abuse started when our client was around 13 years old.”

Harris said her firm knows of “dozens of others who are considering taking action” over the matter and that historical sexual abuse of children in elite junior cricket is a problem that will not go away.

“Cricket Australia and the various State Associations are going to be forced to face up to their alleged failures to protect children,” Harris said.

“The time has come for them to be held to account and for justice and fair compensation to be awarded to the survivors for the terrible damage that was done to them.

“What our client was subjected to as a young boy and the impact it has had on his life is simply heartbreaking. As a consequence of the abuse he experienced, our client was robbed of a normal childhood and upbringing and subsequently suffered significant mental health disorders which have impacted his life and career prospects.”

“Cricket should be a safe and enjoyable activity for people, especially children, so to hear that abuse was so prevalent in these organisations is devastating. Our client had dreams of a future in cricket. Those hopes and dreams were destroyed by this predator.”

‘What is clear is that it’s Cricket ACT’s responsibility’

In recent years, Cricket Australia has lagged in its response to stories of historical sexual abuse of children in its elite junior pathways.

It was only on December 24, 2021 — in response to an ABC Sport investigation of former Australian Under-19s star Jamie Mitchell’s horrific experiences on an overseas tour — that CA made a commitment to join the National Redress Scheme in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-04/ian-king-sexual-abuse-survivor-sues-cricket-australia/101123112

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