Police inquiry announced after ‘disgusting’ sexual assault response
An inquiry into police conduct has been established following Geelong police’s failure to respond adequately to an incident where a man was subjected to a sexual attack at a public toilet.
West Footscray resident Zac Damelian told MCV he and his partner had gone to Geelong for the day and returning to Geelong station he went to the Johnstone Park toilet block while his partner waited outside.
Damelian said that a man in the next cubicle slid himself halfway into his cubicle.
Damelian said the man’s pants were “down around his ankles” and “he was completely erect.”
“He grabbed my right leg quite forcefully and pulled me down and said ‘Come on mate, just give me a blow job’ and ‘come on mate, just sit on it’
Damelian freed himself, ran out of the toilet block and alerted his partner, telling him to keep an eye on the entrance to the toilet block and follow at a safe distance. Damelian then ran to report the incident to Geelong Police.
At the police station, the officer on duty instructed him to return outside and call 000 on his mobile phone.
“Outside, I was belittled and yelled at by the 000 dispatcher because I was in such a distressed state trying to communicate what was happening,” Damelian said.
“The time it took for the police to respond to my 000 call was 23 minutes as per my iPhone log. The police have reported contrary,” he added.
Damelian reapproached the police station to make a formal complaint and to make a statement and encountered another officer who he described as “belittling of a sexual attack victim.”
Public toilets in the Geelong area have been subject to a number of incidents of a sexual nature in past months, with some even being closed by police due to fears of attacks of the kind Damelian was reporting.
“He gave me very dismissive looks and I informed him of the obvious because it has been reported that Johnstone Park is a known gay men’s beat.
“I believe I was not taken seriously because I was a gay man and assaulted at a gay beat but what the police failed to understand was that I would be quite a stupid man to be cruising for sex considering my partner was 150 meters away from where the attack occurred.”
“If they had actually listened to my descriptions of what was happening rather than dismissing me as a gay man who had just been assaulted at a gay beat, they would have apprehended a predator who is now on the loose and could do this to somebody else and they would have had an understanding of just how distressing the attack was on myself.”
Instead the officer challenged Damelian to take it to the media when he told him his response was completely inadequate and he would call the Geelong Advertiser.
Damelian said his words were “do your best”.
After the Geelong Advertiser reported the incident, Damelian called the Geelong Police Station to make a statement about the assault, but the officer in charge, cut off his call.
“To have a police officer hang up the phone in the ear of a sexual assault victim when they want to make a formal complaint and to help apprehend a sexual attacker is disgusting and completely unwarranted,” he said.
Damelian added that only after he had alerted the police conduct unit that additional reports by gay media were forthcoming that someone was assigned to investigate the claims of police misconduct.
“What is it with Victoria Police? Do we need to go back to the days of Tasty Nightclub negotiations to re-establish our relationship or are they actually going to respond to the gay community in a respectable manner?”
On Thursday, October 3, six days after the incident Damelian said he was informed that an investigator has been appointed to examine the police’s conduct.
Damelian said the investigating officer told him he was “disgusted” with what had occurred and arrange to take an ethical standards statement from Damelian.
“I’ve still yet to get them to take a victim’s statement,” Damelian said.
- CATEGORIES: Victoria