Qld cricket club may have known of abuse

Allegations of child sexual abuse by Queensland cricket coach Bob Ross may have been made known to a club member as long as 30 years before charges were laid, an inquiry has been told.

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The club treasurer, known as BMX, told the abuse royal commission on Wednesday that he heard rumours last week that a member was possibly made aware of the claims against Ross in the 1980s.

Ross took his own life in November 2014 after being charged with 50 child sex offences, two months after he notified the club he was being investigated by police.

At the time the club canvassed former members to see if anyone had knowledge of the allegations, but no-one admitted knowing anything.

BMX told the commission that changed last week, though he had not asked who that individual was.

“The president told me that there was a rumour that a past member of the club had been made aware that there had been abuse committed by Bob,” he said.

BMX, who is also a former player for the club, said he was not aware of the allegations until Ross notified the club, and had only two days ago found out about allegations by more than the initial three survivors.

At the time neither he nor the club made attempts to find out more details about the allegations or to contact the survivors.

“We didn’t feel it was appropriate to ask questions about a live police investigation,” he said.

“I wouldn’t have thought they’d be forthcoming with any information.”

Now that the club is aware of the names of some of those people, BMX said he would like to talk to the rest of the management committee before agreeing to meet with any of them while they are in Sydney for this week’s hearings.

He indicated the club had also planned a response for any future allegations, through the implementation of a Cricket Australia Member Protection Policy.

BMX said he believed one had been in place in the mid-2000s but the most recent one was only implemented in March 2015, after the club became aware of the claims against Ross.

BMX admitted that while older club members were notified and asked about their knowledge of alleged abuse he could not be sure whether junior members, of which there are about 70, or their parents had been told.

Ross, who was a groundsman and club patron, still had involvement with young children until the club was made aware of the police investigation.

He said he believed Ross’s charges were brought up at a general meeting as a way of making club members aware, but this did not occur until after he died.

Queensland Cricket chairman James Holding is expected to give evidence later on Wednesday.

* For support and information about suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14.