Gay ex-Australian rugby league star Ian Roberts remains haunted by the death of a young friend, believing his fear of being labelled a paedophile led him to turn his back on the youth when he should have helped him instead. Ian Roberts In a Sunday Star Times sports section print feature Roberts reveals that he befriended then ten-year old Aaron Light, who was from a troubled family and was soon to slip into a world of drugs and prostitution, when the rugby league star was at the height of his career. Roberts and his partner tried to give Light some stability and for most of his teenage years the youth came and went from Robert's home, with Roberts trying to provide a caring 'family' environment. At the height of a 1996 paedophile scandal which reached into the highest levels of Australia's judiciary and political circles, with the now 17-year old Light scheduled to give evidence in a separate but similar investigation, and with the relationship between him and Light becoming strained Roberts jumped at the chance to avoid being smeared by his association, through Light, with the case. He moved north from Sydney to Queensland to play for the North Queensland Cowboys. A police officer had asked Roberts to take Light into his home again as the case was being prepared. Roberts declined. Light was stabbed to death soon after, though his body was only discovered in 2002. The death was blamed by police on one of those alleged to be part of a paedophile ring, Fred Rix. No child-sex conviction was made against Rix because the primary witness, Light, had failed to appear at court. "I should have taken him in," an anguished Roberts now says. "I wouldn't give a fuck now if the whole world thought I was a paedophile if it meant that kid was still alive... I didn't do enough... I wasn't the man I thought I would have been."
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Monday, 8th February 2010 - 12:01pm
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