Soon in tears, Simon told of the loss of his mother when he was at the Police Academy and then told that when he was in his early teens, he had been insulted by the infamous pedophile pastor Michael Glennon.
“The psychologist talked to me about what the pastor had done and asked me to describe in detail the actions I committed with him.
“I told him I was embarrassed to say and embarrassed, but he assured me it was ok, and after a while he got my trust and I told him everything about what had happened. What I was forced to do to the pastor and what the pastor had done to me.
“It simply came to our notice then. During this time, the psychologist moved closer to me and began rubbing gently on my leg … I was stunned and shocked. He looked me in the eyes and continued to rub my leg and moved to my penis massaging and rubbing me in what seemed like an eternity. I felt sick.
“I felt like the little kid from all those years ago in church.”
Simon was taken out to see Deputy Commissioner Eric Millar. “I tried to tell the Deputy Commissioner what had happened, but I could not. I withdrew in my shell. ”
When Millar asked how his meeting with Oswald had gone, he replied, “Not well.”
“I had tears in my eyes,” Simon recalls. “Then [Millar] cut me off. ”
When he finally tried to complain, he was either ignored or worse, treated as if he was the culprit. He lost confidence in senior officers, and in 1998, after 17 years in the job, he resigned.
After giving evidence to the Royal Commission on Sexual Assault, he felt strong enough to complain to the police Salus Task Force, which was set up to investigate sexual offenses by the police.
He confided to friends inside and outside the force what had happened. This helped confirm Simon’s claim to Salus investigators. One of his former colleagues, “John”, says: “It changed him. It had a great impact on him. ”
“John,” who testified at the hearing, says the decision to drop the charges was a “real kick in the gut” for Simon.
When Salus began his research, Oswald had moved abroad, where he taught young men and women in Thailand about several topics, including ethics. In September 2018, when he returned to Melbourne for an annual visit, he was arrested and charged by Salus detectives.
All those years ago, Oswald was recruited to usher in a new and enlightened era of policing. The former naval officer was the first professional psychologist employed by Victoria Police.
The plan was to give him a taste of the street police before he was promoted to the rank of inspector and worked on the theory that officers will only confide in other officers. He was sent to the tough St Kilda station as part of his training.
Later, he would find no excuse to come back and hang around the young officers at the station. An experienced senior sergeant took him aside and said, “Peter, what are you doing? You get a reputation. ”
So on May 12, 1986, he was gone. There was no real farewell and no explanation. There were rumors that he was given an ultimatum due to allegations of sexual negligence: resign or face a criminal investigation. It seems that he preferred a period of unemployment rather than a period of imprisonment.
Around that time, a senior constable was charged with several indecent assault charges that began when the male victim was 12. The perpetrator escaped bail and months later was found in Queensland, extradited and convicted.
The original investigation found that Oswald shared a house with the senior constable, and the victim said Oswald was there when the assaults took place. The investigation was stopped before Oswald was formally interviewed.
In the Salus investigation, police found that the victim, now 50 years old, was living abroad. He said he has a new life and did not want to be involved in new lawsuits.
The senior constable – who was sentenced to 13 months – also refused to cooperate with the new investigation of Oswald. Salus investigators could not interview senior police officers who might provide insight into Oswald’s resignation as they were all dead or weak.
A psychologist who studied with Oswald at the University of NSW remembers him as “outgoing and charismatic”: “He was older than us when he turned up for our third year. He said he had been an intern and we knew him. as ‘the priest Peter’.
“He wanted to run study groups in his house behind a church in Coogee.”
When he qualified, the psychologist was on the same military recruitment panel as Oswald. “He said the only reason to join the Navy was to be able to bug and get confused. It was then that I realized he was dodgy. ”
It turned out that it was not a cast line.
‘I can not hug my son’
The boy from Gippsland joined the navy to learn a trade. As a 16-year-old, he was only accepted as an electrician to find himself subjected to sexual assault, bashings and verbal bullying.
In an attempt to give him a fresh start, he was transferred from a ship based in Sydney to Melbourne to help build HMAS Cook. As he was about to drive back, a sailor asked if “Dave” would give Navy Officer Lieutenant Peter Oswald a lift. Happy with the company, Dave said yes.
During this trip, in 1979, Dave found out that Oswald was a trained psychologist and so familiar with the fact that he had been sexually assaulted.
When he arrived at the base in Melbourne, Dave was again subjected to brutal treatment – so much so that the commander wanted to find him a safe place to live. And what could be safer than boarding psychologist Peter Oswald?
“It did not take long. He imposed alcohol on me and advanced on me, ”says Dave. The attacks continued for three months.
Discharged from the Navy as unfit and severely damaged, Dave was eventually diagnosed with PTSD. In 2004, he complained to what was then known as the Victorian Psychologists’ Registration Board.
“They told me that his response to my complaint was that he was moving abroad for at least five years and that he wanted his registration to lapse. A hearing was held on the evening of June 30, 2004, and Oswald’s lawyer claimed that we were friends and that he did not treat me. ”
He admitted to a drunken sexual encounter that he insisted it was consensus. Oswald was a 33-year-old lieutenant, Dave a 20-year-old sailor.
“The board stated that even if they believed in me as they had no evidence that I was a patient, such as records of clinical visits, and that because it was over 20 years ago, they would not judge Oswald.”
Dave no longer works and has “considered suicide about a million times”: “I have no friends and find it impossible to trust people. If someone does me a favor, I think, ‘What do they want in return?’
“I can not hug my son, and I can not hug my father.”
Simon believes that the initial decision to allow Oswald to withdraw from the police without being charged was a cover-up, and the latest decision to drop the charges is a cup: “I am furious and it has made me depressed, anxious and suicide. ”
After examining a defense submission and Oswald’s records, the prosecution has filed a notice with the district court to close the case.
An OPP spokesman said: “We are unable to comment on this issue at this time.”
Liveline 131 114; MensLine 1300 789 978; Beyondblue 1300 224 636. The Salus Task Force can be contacted at 8327-6845 or TASKFORCESALUS-OIC@police.vic.gov.au or the Police Complaints Unit at 1300 363 101.