15 November 2023

Cricket authorities failed to keep teens safe from child sex offender Ian King, victim claims

| Albert McKnight
Cricket ACT Headquarters

One of Ian Harold King’s victims said they felt Cricket ACT had failed him. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

CONTENT WARNING: This article refers to child abuse.

Another survivor of a notorious child sex offender has blasted cricket authorities, accusing them of failing to take action to keep him and others safe.

Ian Harold King has committed sexual offences against a total of 14 boys or teenagers.

Earlier this year, he entered guilty pleas over the most recent three of his victims to come forward before being brought back to the ACT Supreme Court for a sentencing hearing on Tuesday (14 November).

He was in his 50s when he sexually abused these three boys between 1997 and 2003 while they were aged between 14 and 18.

He had been their cricket coach and offered them one-on-one coaching.

However, he heard one of these survivors doesn’t just blame him, but also felt like he had been failed by Cricket ACT, Cricket Australia and those leading the Ginninderra Cricket Club at the time.

“All of them failed to take action to keep me and others safe from you,” this survivor said.

READ ALSO Ex-childcare worker needs to say ‘sorry’ for abuse, his four-year-old victim says

The survivor said Cricket ACT and Cricket Australia appeared to have done little to reach out to those who were affected or those who had been potentially affected.

“It is very much like I and others have been left to figure things out alone and suffer quietly,” he said.

“I’m greatly angered by this lack of action.”

King was last sentenced in 2022 over his abuse of a 13-year-old boy. This survivor had also accused Cricket ACT and Cricket Australia of turning “a blind eye” to his behaviour.

Ian King during his time as a coach of the ACT U17 cricket team in 1992. Photo: Supplied.

Appearing over audio-visual link from prison for his sentencing hearing on Tuesday with his face covered by a cap, the 80-year-old was seen shaking when his victims spoke to the court.

“I have felt like I am dirty, not good enough and different to everyone else,” the first survivor said.

“I can still remember the fear and confusion I had that day at your apartment when you first abused me.

“The truth is you were a predator who groomed and preyed on me.”

When he asked King why he was abusing him, he said King replied he “needed it to be a better cricketer and man”.

A second survivor told King, “This has been a secret that I’ve held on to for a long time”.

But he said as he had now reported the abuse to police, “I’m giving this back to you, Ian King”.

“It is not my cross to bear,” he said.

“I will not be ashamed of this anymore.”

In a statement read to the court, the third victim called him a “master manipulator” and a “predator” who had ruined lives.

“You stole my passion for cricket and life itself,” he said.

Justice Belinda Baker thanked the victims for “courageously” reading their statements to the court.

Prosecutor David Swan argued King had shown little to no insight into the gravity of his offending, even though he had completed several sexual offence programs and heard statements from any number of his victims.

He said a court report showed he had no interest in seeking parole or being released into the community.

READ ALSO ‘Enough is enough’: survivor inspired by Grace Tame speaks out about uncle’s sexual abuse

His lawyer, Sam Lynch from the Aboriginal Legal Service, also said he accepted he was unlikely to ever leave the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

King pleaded guilty to three counts of the persistent sexual abuse of a child, two counts of sexual intercourse with a child aged under 16, two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and one count of committing an act of indecency without consent.

Justice Baker has reserved her decision and will sentence him in the future.

A renowned fast bowler, he played Sheffield Shield cricket for Queensland. He worked as a first-grade and club coach for Ginninderra Cricket Club and a selector for the ACT Comets.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact:

Lifeline’s 24-hour crisis support line – 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia – 1300 789 978.

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