A former youth counsellor has been confronted in court by men he sexually abused when they were children.
David Bonython-Wright was found guilty by an Adelaide jury of sexually abusing boys in the 1980s.
Two victims read statements in the District Court as Bonython-Wright sat in the dock without making eye contact.
At one point he laughed and smirked as they spoke.
The victims said the demons Bonython-Wright forced on them were now his to keep.
They said he had shamed them into keeping quiet about the abuse at the time and that his ongoing denial and lack of remorse added to their trauma.
The victims told the former counsellor he was not an expert at resolving trauma, he was the one who caused the trauma.
They said Bonython-Wright surrounded himself with teenage boys who were eager to be accepted into his well-connected circle of friends and family.
The victims said he told them to keep the secret because it would ruin him. But the court heard it was their lives which had been ruined.
Outside the hearing one of the victims, who cannot be named, said it had been an important step for him to be able to face Bonython-Wright to tell him the shame and guilt were now his to keep.
It’s been a long process, three-and-a-half years in the legal process and today is another step in putting it to a finish, to closing what has been a very difficult part of my life,” he said.
“That is the point of this process, to be able to stand in the court and to give back the dirty secrets that David forced upon me 28 years ago”
“It’s very freeing and that’s the point of it for me.”
The victim urged others to come forward if they had faced the same trauma.
For other men who are struggling with similar experiences I would encourage them to come forward as well, itis worth it even though itis a difficult process, it’s absolutely worthwhile to be able to face the perpetrator and say ‘This does not belong to me, this is your secret and now you own it, you deal with it, I’m getting on with my life.”
The man said his personal priority was not the sentence Bonython-Wright would be given.
I don’t care what punishment he gets, it makes no difference to me at all. The point of this for me, the only point for me, has been to be able to stand in the court and give it back,” he said.
“The hypocrisy has fuelled my anger all along, his denial, his refusal to say sorry, his lack of acknowledgment. All of these things have increased my sense of anger and the suffering that I have felt.”
“What drove me was to be able to shine a light on the truth about this man so that others could see who he really was, so he could no longer masquerade as being the shining knight.”
Bonython-Wright had been due to be sentenced, but his lawyer asked for more time to obtain a psychiatric report about his client’s anxiety disorder.
Bonython-Wright now will be sentenced later in the month.
Read the full story here: Abuse victims confront ex-youth worker in court.