James Geoffrey Griffin: The child abuse scandal that shamed Tasmania

James Geoffrey Griffin: The child abuse scandal that shamed Tasmania
Tiffany Skeggs DASAR News

“All of the people who knew me like a child… they all show me that I was this joyful, energetic, happy-go-lucky child.

“[But] I don’t remember our child self. I actually don’t know who the lady was when the lady was happy, just before she was traumatised. ”

From age group 11, Tiffany Skeggs was groomed plus raped by a man 47 years the girl senior, in Tasmania, Australia.

He was a nurse and a favorite community volunteer — a paternal physique, she said, who else filled an opening left by her father’s death yrs earlier.

“I noticed him as a leading man. He made it appear to be I was the only individual on Earth, ” the lady told an query.

Ms Skeggs wasn’t the only child Wayne Geoffrey Griffin experienced groomed in that way. Over four decades, this individual brazenly exploited plus abused many ladies.

One was the child of a colleague and friend. Another was obviously a relative he bragged online about sedating and raping. Many were his patients. Another girl a new disability and has been non-verbal – her mother made accusations on her behalf.

Just how many people Griffin mistreated is unknown. Professionals say they know some haven’t come forward.

How was this allowed to occur?

The first allegations against Griffin date back to the late 1980s, whenever he was in his 30s. It would get 30 years for him to be arrested.

In that time, this individual gained access to kids primarily through his role as a doctor on the paediatric keep at Launceston General Hospital and as a massage therapist pertaining to junior sporting groups.

Shot of newspaper pages with stories about James Geoffrey Griffin

ABC News

For years, parents, colleagues as well as strangers tried to notify authorities to the risk Griffin posed. Yet only in 2019 when Ms Skeggs disclosed her misuse did police investigate properly.

By October that season Griffin, then 69, had been charged with abusing four kids. He died simply by suicide weeks later on.

A Tasmanian inquiry is now investigating how a litany of issues and red flags were overlooked. During community hearings which concluded this month, this heard Griffin received his first created warning about challenging behaviour in 2004.

The conduct only escalated, and complaints began piling up. Among them were reports he had been cuddling a pre-teenage woman at the hospital, was giving his phone number to patients, together given an 11-year-old a “wet kiss” on the forehead.

He or she was counselled plus warned, but eventually maintained his access to vulnerable children.

The majority of extraordinarily, the hospital unnoticed a disclosure simply by one of their own staff members that she have been repeatedly abused by Griffin from age seven.

In 2011, social worker Kylee Pearn told her boss plus HR representatives what had happened to her. It followed the sleepless night for the paediatric ward along with one of her own kids – she had been too scared in order to leave the child solely.

“I just believed how incredibly unjust it was that I can protect my kid, but no one otherwise in this ward knew that information, ” she told Tasmania’s Commission of Inquiry into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.

Launceston General Hospital

Tasmanian Health Section

Other staff spoke up as well. One senior health professional told the query she had taken it upon himself to allocate youthful, female patients to other nurses wherever possible, right after her concerns regarding Griffin fell on deaf ears.

One more colleague, Will Gordon, formally reported Griffin but his issue was deemed “unsubstantiated” without even speaking to the girls involved.

Griffin’s behaviour was continuously excused, Mr Gordon said. “It would be: ‘Jim is Rick. That’s just whom he is. ‘”

Only when police reported selecting Griffin in ownership of child abuse images that seemed to be taken inside the medical center was he suspended from work.

The public hospital had a lifestyle of fear and cover-up, senior personnel told the query.

Some revealed they had no training in determining grooming behaviour plus weren’t aware of required reporting obligations, or how to escalate their own complaints.

The head associated with Tasmania’s health section – which oversees the hospital – recently made an psychological apology, saying the lady was “personally horrified” by the evidence as well as the “lack of sympathy and humanity” proven to survivors.

“While the words alone is not going to heal the hurt of all those that have experienced – nor can words alone comfort and ease those [who] will never understand if they or youngsters were victims : I will do our very best to direct [the department] to right the particular wrongs of the previous, ” Kathrine Morgan-Wicks said.

Failures simply by police and others

Law enforcement were alerted in order to Griffin’s behaviour actually earlier, on at least five separate events.

In 2000, a guy who had bought a laptop from Griffin told police it contained possible child abuse material. Their email was ignored.

The concerned guy contacted police once again the next year, composing: “I do not want to think he is doing work in a kids keep in Tasmania unsupervised, given what I have found. ”

Police checked the laptop and found the pictures that remained onto it – of children within bikinis – were “morally” concerning yet legal. No additional investigation was carried out.

Then in 2009, a man reported seeing Griffin taking “upskirt” pictures of young girls while working as a team on a popular ferry. Police searched their house, finding he or she cleared his internet browsing history every day and had a large cache of photos of young girls.

Spirit of Tasmania ferry

Getty Images

The matter had been “filed for intelligence” and no further action was taken.

In the years that followed, authorities were recommended two people had disclosed past child misuse by Griffin, along with other concerned adults – including Ms Skeggs’ mother – produced complaints. On both occasions child safety solutions and police did not investigate adequately.

Then in 2015, law enforcement were told Griffin was discussing kid abuse online. These people wanted more information about the tipoff – but when the person provided evidence, their email wasn’t even opened.

Tasmania’s police commissioner apologised to Griffin’s victims last year, saying they had been “let straight down by the deficiencies in our systems and investigative processes”.

‘No way in hell’ anyone do enough

Australia has long been reckoning with the issue of child sex-related abuse.

Harrowing tales from survivors shaped a national inquiry which began within 2013 and discovered shocking institutional failures.

The royal commission was supposed to improve how Quotes dealt with abuse instances.

But years afterwards, Ms Skeggs’ case forced Tasmanian specialists to look at themselves again.

Tiffany Skeggs holds hands with a friend during the inquiry

ABC News

Its inquiry will make recommendations and may create adverse findings towards individuals, possibly informing prosecutions.

A review into Launceston Common Hospital has already been introduced, and police have promised changes after a separate overview of their actions.

Yet Ms Skeggs, today 25, said all of the systems concerned with kid safety need enhancement – the entire community failed her.

“Did any of them perform enough? There’s no way in hell. The phrase that I’ll hate for the rest of my life is: ‘That’s just Jim. ‘

“It should never be up to or become the responsibility of an 11-year-old child or any kid to protect themselves, and also to this day it continues to be that way. ”