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THE OMERTA CODE: Sex predator Peter Roebuck preyed on young blokes wherever he went

AbcfairfaxconeofsilenceSome of Australia’s most prominent sports reporters – some of whom penned lavish praise-filled columns eulogising Peter Roebuck – have first-hand knowledges of the very many stories of the troubled cricket commentator aggressively sexually harrassing and hitting on young, freshly recruited young males on their staff.

One insider in a large media organisation – on strict condition of anonymity – says that stories about Roebuck’s exploits were well-known within the clubby sports-reporting community, with one story involving his stalking and forceful sexual harassment of a young employee when “on tour” with the Australian cricket team.

The testimony of the photographer is that during the 1990s Roebuck would regularly and extremely persistently invite the unfortunate youngster up to his hotel room “for a cup of tea.” The youth knew to say no or avoid the subject but Roebuck’s high status in the cricket commentary world meant this had to be done delicately. It was a classic case of a predator abusing power to take what he wanted regardless of the desires of his target.

Eventually the badgering got so persistent, obvious and ugly that the photographer and cameramen on tour “staged an intervention” telling Roebuck in no uncertain terms to leave the lad alone and that he “didn’t need any of your f*cking tea”.

Roebuck got the message and stopped. But Roebuck’s sexual predatory behaviour was well-known within the cricket world as Neal Collins’ powerful piece illustrates.

In some cases, it now appears there wasn’t anyone to speak up for all his targets, be they young ambitious cricket enthusiasts or Zimbabwean orphans who’d been paid to live in his house.

(Australian cricket reporters) are like the mafia, just slightly less violent and interesting, but with a code of silence that what happens on Tour stays on Tour

The hypocritical silence and misguided loyalty of those who worked closely with Roebuck, who are very familiar with these stories (and many others, no doubt), is breath-taking. Those familiar with the culture prevailing among many sports journalists are not surprised telling VEXNEWS that it’s a “closed shop” with qualities best described as “clubby, blokey, insular, self-important and, occasionally, among Australian ones, not especially keen on reporting stories that cause discomfort to sporting authorities and players.”

The shameful case of award-winning then Channel 7 sports reporter Dylan Howard is cited as pointing to a “sickness” within Australian sports reporting. Howard obtained sensational evidence of AFL players taking drugs. They included very prominent Hawthorn players who’d been found to have tested positive to cocaine use. He reported it. The players, the Club and the AFL went psycho, demanded Police action, demanded his scalp, etc. Police investigated the matter and found Howard and his employer had done nothing wrong. But many AFL players – protesting Howard’s breach of unwritten rules about how certain matters involving players should be kept private – refused to appear on Channel 7 unless he was boned. So, displaying all the moral fibre which many associate with TV industry executives, they eventually boned him.

It was the best thing that ever happened to him, as it turned out, as he has got a vastly better paying job as senior executive editor of popular celebrity news site Radar Online, where he’s broken stories including Mel Gibson’s racist rants to his Russian ex-girlfriend, exclusives with Charlie Sheen and many others.

While Seven let him go for breaking the clubby rules of soft sports-reporting here, Howard’s gone to the biggest media market in the world and is, as one observer remarked, “killing it.” He recently won “Entertainment Journalist of the Year” from the Los Angeles Press Club.

Back at home, we are stuck with a sick sports reporting culture more dedicated to tame, lame and the same old lazy pap that doesn’t rock the boat. That same doctrine, it now appears, fed an elaborate conspiracy of silence among very many involved in cricket commentary and reporting during Peter Roebuck’s life and even after his spectacular death amid Police investigations that the convicted abuser of young people had engaged in sex-attacks quite recently and that he paid 16 impoverished, desperate youths and former orphans to live in his “blue house” and call him “Daddy.”

“It’s a small group of people, mate, they all know each other’s business and gossip shamelessly about each other but there are rules. And you’re seeing that play out here. There’s genuine sadness about losing a colleague and they have adopted a sort-of mock sports-team-mates culture about sticking together and not rocking the boat and not speaking out of turn. It’s bullsh*t and it’s contemptible in terms of a journalist’s obligation to their audience and to their truth but it is no less powerful for that. They’re like the mafia, just slightly less violent and interesting, but with a code of silence that what happens on Tour stays on Tour” one insider intimately familiar with cricket-reporting in Australia explained to VEXNEWS.

The ABC’s Jim Maxwell, Drew Morphett, Geoff Lawson, all worked closely with Peter Roebuck. There’s been praise of their former colleague’s cricket commentary.

It’s time they spoke up about what they saw when Peter Roebuck was on the job. It’s time they lifted this vile cone of silence.

One of his friends, in an otherwise glowing tribute remarked:

Upon reflection, perhaps something could have been read into his Bondi home, which he kept in a state of almost complete darkness…”Only moths need bright light.”

He appears to have led a very dark life, indeed.

The ABC/Fairfax Media – and the many sports-reporters who are uncomfortably sitting on the truth – need to stop the stonewalling, the cheesy minor-chord piano tributes to Roebuck played over his commentary highlights, and shine a very bright light on the darkness that was their sex-predator employee’s life. His victims deserve the truth, the first step towards justice.

Discussion

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  1. 6 story swan dive screams guilty.

    Posted by Anonymous | November 24, 2011, 7:50
  2. I was fascinated to read Christopher Pearson’s defence of his good friend in the weekend Oz – Christopher also backs Tony Abbott regularly

    Posted by The Insider | November 24, 2011, 8:11
  3. Yep anon …. as soon as the charges were put to him he entered a 75 foot guilty plea.

    Posted by Toad of Toad Hall | November 24, 2011, 9:14
  4. I also know someone who wishes to remain anonymous. He alleges that Roebuck regularly went to church and prayed for young men.

    Posted by A non | November 24, 2011, 11:38
  5. Another ABC type, Gideon Haigh, was extremely floral in his praise on “The Drum.”

    Posted by Big Ramifications | November 24, 2011, 17:39
  6. Has the bloke been buried yet, seemed like he died ages ago and this is old news!

    In breaking sports news it seems like ‘mum and dad’ investors have been taken for a ride by NSW harness stewards; who would have thought that the trots are being rigged.

    Posted by Reds are better in bed! | November 24, 2011, 21:29
  7. I had the ‘trots’ in Parliament this week, I do hope Tena Lady Extra Plus are tax deductable, silly old Ruddock got the blame for the odour he he.

    Posted by Bronwyn Bishop | November 24, 2011, 22:23
  8. Andy, Pete will bend you over in hell and give you a good spanking.

    Posted by Tossa | November 24, 2011, 23:43
  9. This is a story with many victims. Peter Roebuck was not a victim. He was a perpetrator. He should have had the courage to face his accusers and apologise before spending a long time in jail.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | November 25, 2011, 2:52
  10. “This is a story with many victims. Peter Roebuck was not a victim. He was a perpetrator.”
    He may well be a sexual predator but I smell something fishy here. We are the stories from the other young males he has molested. Or did just decide to spank three lads in 2001 and wait until 2012 before unleashing his desires on an unspecting 26 yo male “gondo”. Strange that Gondo did not tell Roebuck to f%$% off when Roebuck made advances (or does a 55 y o male have stronger powers that a strapping 26 y o male , who for some unknown reason took off his clothes before this attack. Didn’t the 26 yo male have warning bells ringing when Roebuck asked him to take off his clothes) Besides If Roebuck wanted sex with a young black african male there are things called escorts/ male prostitutes. I think Roebuck could have afforded them.
    Finally everyone is jumping to the conclusion that Roebuck jumped. Have we any evidence of that. Oh yes we have the word of 1 South African policeman. Only 1. No corroboration by any other witness.
    I dislike sexual predators but I need more proof before I will happily join the chorus of slanging the legacy of Roebuck.

    Posted by Me | November 25, 2011, 10:27
  11. ZZZZZzzzzz! ZZZZZzzzz! ZZzzzz!

    Posted by Snore | November 26, 2011, 12:05
  12. good one snore lol

    Posted by half awake | November 26, 2011, 22:00
  13. I just discovered the other Roebuck thread starring Adam Shand.

    I read an interesting article in crikey.com.au that *touched* on a third theory [some of which overlaps what has been previously suggested]. In point form how I remember it. Sorry, no linky.

    ** Story changed a LOT. Many different versions in the first 48 hours.
    ** Ya wouldn’t put it past cops out that way to chuck the odd felon out a window during “questioning.”
    ** Roebuck was sticking his beak into neighbouring Zimbabwean politics.
    ** Zimbabwean politics is a dangerous game.
    ** He was an easy target for sting of a sexual nature – this might have been a set up.

    Imagine that. Mugabe paid some bent coppers to toss our meddlesome friend out the window.

    [I know I shouldn’t laugh, but “75 foot guilty plea” is quite the term. I’m stealin’ that one.]

    Posted by Big Ramifications | November 27, 2011, 3:07
  14. Peter Roebuck equals Craig Langdon

    Posted by Anonymous | November 27, 2011, 15:46
  15. Roebuck was confused.
    He meant to say Mugabe …. it came out as Bugame.

    A simple case of Freudian dyslectic anagram gone ‘orribly wrong.

    Nuffink to see here folks.

    Posted by Toad of Toad Hall | November 29, 2011, 21:22
  16. Big Ramifications …
    No need to steal.
    Toad hereby grants an irrevocable, royalty free, global licence to use the phrase “75 foot guilty plea” at will.

    Posted by Toad of Toad Hall | November 30, 2011, 8:06

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