The woman was part of a youth team in Auckland that traveled to New South Wales and Canberra to compete. She was alone in her dormitory at Macquarie University in Sydney’s northern suburbs when she said she was ill-treated by Donald Parker, the team’s medical officer.
The victim claims she was ill-treated during the 1987 Trans Tasman Challenge, a meeting of the best boys and girls under 10 and under 11 in Auckland and New South Wales, Sydney.
The team had visited a swimming complex in Canberra that morning before taking the bus to Sydney. According to the victim, she had asked Parker about a minor complaint and he agreed to visit her when they got to her accommodation.
The victim was alone in the room and says Parker laid her on her bed and digitally abused her.
“Even at that age, I thought, ‘What the hell are you doing?’
Dr. Don told me not to tell anyone so I didn’t. I was very good at keeping this secret. ”
The woman in her forties informed Athletics Auckland of the alleged attack and asked if she was the only one abused by the man. An internal investigation by the organization found no confirmed cases of serious sexual assault, but uncovered examples of “sloppy” and “sensitive” behavior of the alleged perpetrator.
David Sim, chairman of Athletics Auckland, admitted that he “wouldn’t be surprised if more adults came up as a result [today‘s] Story”.
In a joint statement to the New Zealand Herald, Athletics Auckland and Athletics New Zealand said they had changed their child safety protocols to ensure such incidents did not occur.
“Athletics Auckland and Athletics NZ were made aware of a claim that a young female athlete was sexually assaulted by a team official while she was on an Auckland Athletics team in the late 1980s,” the statement said.
“We understand that the athlete was 11 years old at the time and now… was talking about what happened. The affected team official died over 10 years ago.
“First of all, we want to realize the extreme bravery that it takes to talk about it, the immense pain that has been inflicted on this person, and the pain that he has lived with in silence for over 30 years. Both Athletics Auckland and Athletics NZ offered her our unreserved apologies for this happened to her while participating in our sport.
“Abuse and abuse of athletes, especially child athletes, is abhorrent and unacceptable.”
Parker became Dr. Called Don, however, was more of a St. John Ambulance Officer than a doctor.
The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she learned to live with her secret but was “triggered” when she watched the Netflix documentary Athlete A.
While the US gymnasts talked about the abuse they had suffered from national team doctor Larry Nassar, the woman turned to her husband and said, “Oh my god. That happened to me ”
She has since contacted Auckland Athletics and the police. The police took her complaint and gave her a case number, but later informed her that they would not investigate because the perpetrator is dead.
“I can’t apologize enough for the crap she went through,” said Sim. I’m absolutely stunned that anyone went through what she went through. She’s incredibly brave to come out and tell (the public) what happened. I really feel for her.
“The thing is, the guy gets away with it because he’s dead.”
Parker died in 2007. There are few records of his death, only one note in the 2008 yearbook of John.
He was affiliated with the Howick Athletics Club before disbanding a few years ago. He was also a familiar face in the athletics scene in the 1980s.
“He was very involved. He was the first aid man and always had children around him, ”said the victim. “He was strangely charismatic in that regard.”
– New Zealand Herald
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