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Gay Rugby Icon Ian Roberts Testifies About Abuse


At an inquest into the death of Arron James Light, a straight teenage hustler who was the victim of an unsolved murder in 2002, Australian rugby star Ian Roberts testified that he had also been sexually abused at 15 by Fred Rix, a masseur under suspicion for Light's murder.

At the time, Roberts said he was too afraid to come forward: "I didn't say anything to anyone because I was terrified. I'm a gay man and at 15 I had actually thought somehow I'd given him permission, I'd given him some sort of signal."

When Roberts heard Rix's name in association with the Light case, he knew he had to come forward. Roberts knew Arron Light, and had befriended him years earlier on visits to a Children's Hospital. Roberts said yesterday that he felt that he could have "saved that boy's life" because he had thought of taking the "definitely...heterosexual" Light away from the problems of the city to North Queensland where he went to play rugby, but didn't do so because he was afraid of being branded a pedophile.

Said Roberts: "It's a cesspool of emotions for me when I think of Arron, because it's not that I have guilt. I don't need people to pat me on the back and say you did the right thing. I know the truth and the truth is I was not responsible for that boy's death, but I could have saved that boy's life … I could have taken Arron to Townsville. I didn't because all I could think about was what people would think. I just wish I followed my heart and my conscience."

Arron Light disappeared in 1998. At the time he was scheduled to provide evidence against Fred Rix, who was accused of sexually assaulting him. Rix remains a person of interest in the murder.

Ian Roberts came out publicly in 1995.

I Could Have Saved That Boy, Inquest Told [sydney morning herald]
League star silent for almost 20 years on abuse [sydney morning herald]
(thanks simon)

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  1. Ian Roberts, besides being an out gay hunk veteran of the sport that makes American football players, with all their padding, helmets, etc., look like a bunch of physical cowards, has again shown his courage off the field by publicly admitting his own sense of having failed this boy, and, more importantly shines a light on how fear of what others will think ends up immobilizes us. I have argued at length with a gay activist friend this very issue. Like Roberts, he fears that his genuine, non-pederastic interest in helping gay kids will, if it's a boy, leave him vulnerable. As often as I rant here about the failure of HRC, et al., to adequately be fighting on behalf of the American Taliban's weakest targets, this same fear is probably what inhibits some. But as in real battle, the importance of what we fight for must lead us to overcome our fear of injuries to ourselves. To do nothing, to look away, is to let the enemy win. As Frank Kameny recognized years ago, and subsequently challenged the American Psychiatric Association, the federal government, et al., there comes a time when you must ASSERT your goodness and integrity, and dare them to PROVE the contrary.

    Posted by: Leland | May 17, 2006 12:23:00 PM

  2. Oh my holy Dog! I actually agree with Leland!

    Posted by: JT | May 17, 2006 2:55:52 PM

  3. LOL. "We're partners. We're like Huntley & Brinkley; like Nelson & Jeanette!" Julie, Carol, & I, thank you.

    Posted by: Leland | May 17, 2006 3:15:29 PM

  4. Wait a cotto picking minute! Nelson and Jeannette? I'm not so sure I like the sound of that.

    Posted by: JT | May 17, 2006 3:42:30 PM

  5. I agree with Leland. Ian Roberts is a hero, and a sensitive, thinking one at that.

    Posted by: brian | May 21, 2006 7:44:41 AM

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