Sunday, 5th June, 2011
Now grown men, the former patients of John Phillip Rolleston, who until recently ran the Broken Hill Medical Centre, told the NSW District Court yesterday how their lives had descended into alcohol abuse, mental illness and suicide attempts.
Others spoke of an unshakable anger, a “shattered” trust of authority figures and their horror at realising years later what their GP had done to them was sexual abuse.
“He was a sick pervert who happened to be a doctor,” one of them said in his victim impact statement.
“He very cleverly disguised his disgusting penchant within his profession.”
Rolleston, 73, was found guilty in March of 10 counts of indecent assault relating to five victims. The offences occurred between 1975 and 1981 in the doctor’s north shore surgery or in a Sydney hospital.
Following the trial, Rolleston pleaded guilty to another 17 counts of the same charge against another seven young boys.
During sentencing submissions, the court was told how the damage Rolleston caused to one victim resulted in a lasting psychological scar.
“Since then I have felt that the bottom half of my body has no relationship with the top half,” he said.
“This is hard to explain but it is an uncomfortable relationship.”
The man told of hiding in India, living in a cemetery, begging for money and working in menial jobs for years after turning down a journalism cadetship.
“I was too afraid to turn up on the day and hid from the phone when they rang,” he said.
He said he later told them: “I’m sorry, I’m just a dickhead from Forbes and I couldn’t have done that job.”
Another said it was only now, at the age of 50, “that I see Dr Rolleston as a pervert, a liar, a fraud and ogre who affected goodness knows how many other boys of my age”.
“I wonder would my life have turned out differently if I had pedalled my bicycle away from Dr Rolleston’s surgery as fast as my legs could go when his disgusting behaviour began.”
During his trial, jurors were told the boys, aged 14 to 15, were seeking treatment for conditions such as a sore throat or a sore ankle.
But the doctor either masturbated them or ordered them to do it, telling them he needed a semen sample.
One victim said he felt Rolleston’s “punishment should be harsh... for the number of people this man has ruined”.
The doctor’s lawyer, Tony Bellanto QC, said his client had led an unblemished life for the past 30 years and had expressed remorse through his guilty plea to the further 17 offences.
“He has established a successful medical practice at Broken Hill,” he said.
Crown prosecutor Peter Skinner said Rolleston picked his victims as boys who he thought would not complain and his behaviour was calculated.
Judge Leonie Flannery continued Rolleston’s bail until his sentencing on June 24. - AAP/BDT