During a Sydney trial in October 2016, a jury heard the chilling details of how a NSW girl had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her parents for years.
The girl had said she had been restrained, raped and tortured multiple times by her father, aided by her mother. As reported by the ABC, the abuse began when she was just five years old.
The girl, in her 20s at the time, and her sister read victim impact statements in court. One daughter explained that Father's Day "always reminds me of the sexual acts I was forced to perform".
“You chose not to protect your daughters," the other sister said about her mother.
"A mother is supposed to look after and protect us.
"You ought to be ashamed of yourself."
Now, shocking revelations published by Richard Guilliatt in The Australian tell another story.
Growing up, the family was well known in the community and in elite sporting circles; the girls were talented athletes and the father was a sports coach.
Speaking to Richard Guilliatt, a mother who knew the family for 15 years declared: “I don’t believe any of it.”
“Honestly, I cannot see it,” she added.
“I don’t know anyone who knew them and trained with them who thinks this happened,” another mother explained.
The parent’s middle daughter and son also deny the accusations.
The middle daughter claimed her youngest sister had been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, and began to recollect memories that no one else in the family had.
“This family has been torn apart by the authorities,” she told The Australian, “and my sister is as much a victim as anyone. All I know is that she was admitted into the mental health system and we lost her.”
After being admitted to a psychiatric hospital in 2013, the girl was “flooded and overwhelmed” by horrific memories of sexual abuse from her father. The memories then led to allegations, and from there, a Sydney’s Downing Centre trial.
The 59-year-old man was found guilty of 73 offences and was sentenced to 48 years in prison. The 51-year-old mother was sentenced to 16 years (11 years without parole) for 13 counts of abuse, including indecent assault.
You can read Richard Guilliatt's excellent piece here.