Gay Rugby Icon Ian Roberts Testifies About Abuse
At an inquest into the death of Arron James Light, a straight teenage hustler who was the victim of an unsolved murder in 2002, Australian rugby star Ian Roberts testified that he had also been sexually abused at 15 by Fred Rix, a masseur under suspicion for Light's murder.
At the time, Roberts said he was too afraid to come forward: "I didn't say anything to anyone because I was terrified. I'm a gay man and at 15 I had actually thought somehow I'd given him permission, I'd given him some sort of signal."
When Roberts heard Rix's name in association with the Light case, he knew he had to come forward. Roberts knew Arron Light, and had befriended him years earlier on visits to a Children's Hospital. Roberts said yesterday that he felt that he could have "saved that boy's life" because he had thought of taking the "definitely...heterosexual" Light away from the problems of the city to North Queensland where he went to play rugby, but didn't do so because he was afraid of being branded a pedophile.
Said Roberts: "It's a cesspool of emotions for me when I think of Arron, because it's not that I have guilt. I don't need people to pat me on the back and say you did the right thing. I know the truth and the truth is I was not responsible for that boy's death, but I could have saved that boy's life … I could have taken Arron to Townsville. I didn't because all I could think about was what people would think. I just wish I followed my heart and my conscience."
Arron Light disappeared in 1998. At the time he was scheduled to provide evidence against Fred Rix, who was accused of sexually assaulting him. Rix remains a person of interest in the murder.
Ian Roberts came out publicly in 1995.