Bizarre comments before ex-Big Brother child-sex conviction

 

A FORMER high-profile Big Brother psychologist warned that getting sexual abuse victims to relive their horror at Royal Commission hearings was "wrong" and would provide further harm.

"It is a popular but absolutely incorrect belief that it is always helpful and desirable to encourage survivors to talk about their traumatic experiences," he offered in a submitted opinion piece to the Bulletin.

Months later Dr Bob Montgomery would be charged with molesting a number of Boy Scouts 50 years earlier.

Montgomery is behind bars in NSW after pleading guilty to abusing 12-year-old boys in the 1960s.

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Bob Montgomery, photographed at his Runaway Bay home prior to his arrest. Picture: Jerad Williams.
Bob Montgomery, photographed at his Runaway Bay home prior to his arrest. Picture: Jerad Williams.

The 76-year-old is expected to be released on parole in December after last year being sentenced to four-years jail by the NSW District Court for two counts of buggery, five of indecent assault of a male and one of procuring an indecent act.

He was arrested and charged at Southport in January 2019.

Less than one year earlier, he sent correspondence to the Bulletin sharing his views about the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission).

The opinion piece was sent without invitation following an appearance by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard on television.

In it, Montgomery claimed an "unintended conclusion" might be drawn from the terms of reference of the Royal Commission that "the biggest risk of child abuse, sexual, physical, emotional or by drugs, occurs in organisations with children in their care".

"This is very wrong," he wrote. "The most frequent sexual abusers of children are their fathers or stepfathers.

"The next most frequent are other male adults in the family. Next are adults known to and often trusted by the family, a group that includes abusers within organisations that care for children."

Bob Montgomery, his wife Dr Laurel Morris and their pet parrot Baldrick.
Bob Montgomery, his wife Dr Laurel Morris and their pet parrot Baldrick.

Montgomery was a Scout leader in Edgecliff in Sydney's eastern suburbs when he abused three boys across an extended period in the 1960s.

In 1965, he resigned from the organisation.

One year later, he sexually assaulted a fourth boy while working as a teacher at a Marrickville High School, the court heard.

Following his sentence last December, one of Montgomery's victims said the Royal Commission had given him the confidence to come forward.

But in the opinion piece penned by Montgomery, he claimed victims could be re-traumatised by disclosing past offending against them, rather than avoiding the conversation or "bottling it up".

"It is a popular but absolutely incorrect belief that it is always helpful and desirable to encourage survivors to talk about their traumatic experiences," he wrote.

Robert Montgomery arriving at the Downing Centre in Sydney in December 2020. Picture: Christian Gilles.
Robert Montgomery arriving at the Downing Centre in Sydney in December 2020. Picture: Christian Gilles.

"The established fact is that obliging or encouraging a traumatised person to talk about their experience and feelings, when they don't want to, risks traumatising that person again, possibly worse than the original traumatisation."

Montgomery also said the Royal Commission "ignored the needs" of those who chose not to speak at the inquiry.

"Because they chose not to speak, it is simply impossible to accurately state their number, but I suggest from clinical experience … they would outnumber those who did speak with the Commission.

"Some have sought psychological assistance, which automatically provides privacy and the right to confidentiality of anything they share with their treating psychologist."

Bob Montgomery said the Royal Commission could have harmed victims. Picture: Jerad Williams.
Bob Montgomery said the Royal Commission could have harmed victims. Picture: Jerad Williams.

He later said he did intend to "criticise" the Royal Commission or those who did the work.

It can also be revealed Montgomery confessed his offending to police in a detailed interview with police shortly after being arrested.

When speaking to the Bulletin previously, he talked fondly of his time with the Boy Scouts, claiming he had once assisted to find a group of boys that got lost following an exercise.

Montgomery was the president of the Australian Psychological Society from 2008 to 2010.

He previously worked preparing reports for Family Court matters and consulted to Big Brother contestants on the Gold Coast.

At the time of his sentencing, the court heard he now suffers from dementia and was unlikely to live past his 80th birthday.

Originally published as Ex-Big Brother shrink's bizarre comments before child-sex conviction



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