School gardener’s abuse of 13 boys over two decades

AAP
A victim of historic child sex abuse has faced the offender in a Perth court, reading out a statement describing the effects of the crimes on his life.
Camera IconA victim of historic child sex abuse has faced the offender in a Perth court, reading out a statement describing the effects of the crimes on his life. Credit: RICHARD WAINWRIGHT/AAPIMAGE

A former school gardener who abused 13 boys over a period of almost two decades will likely spend the rest of his life in prison — but one victim says time has not dulled the memories of what happened.

John Melverne Bodey, 78, has pleaded guilty to 57 offences committed against boys aged between 10 and 16 from 1970 to 1986 in WA’s north.

One man read out his victim impact statement in the WA District Court yesterday, describing the abuse as a confusing time.

“I trusted him and I remember wanting him to like me,” he said.

The victim spent years falsely believing he had contracted a sexually transmitted disease from Bodey and was going to die.

He said he had been a happy, adventurous and carefree child but after the abuse, he became withdrawn and introverted.

“I have missed so many opportunities in my life,” he said.

Another victim said the sound of a door creaking open still startled him awake about 50 years after the abuse.

The court was told Bodey took children fishing and camping, made them play strip poker and showed them pornography to normalise sexual behaviour.

Prosecutor Michael Cvetkoski said Bodey committed a breach of trust in each case and preyed upon the boys for his own perverted sexual desires, resulting in lives being destroyed.

“He had no regard for the welfare of these children,” he said. “He treated them like objects.”

Judge Troy Sweeney will sentence Bodey on Thursday.

Civil action is separately being taken against the WA Education Department.

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