Wade Robson’s early years in Australia. Could he be abused by SOMEONE DIFFERENT?
Every normal person will agree that Wade Robson’s story claiming that for thirty years “he always remembered that he was raped” but “didn’t realize that it was sexual abuse” is insane and may sound convincing only in case it refers to the memory of a very young child.
Indeed, it is only toddlers and very small children who are unable to differentiate between right and wrong in the behavior of adults and who give their trusting little hand to almost any of them, accepting everything done to them as a norm (alas).
While it is unfortunately easy to cheat a five-year old by saying that “what we are doing is right” or go without any explanation at all, similar behavior with a teenager will already get him very much on his guard. And convincing a 22-year old that rape, for example, is perfectly okay will be a totally impossible task – with the exception of complete imbeciles of course.
But Robson doesn’t look like one, even though he talks of “not knowing what it was” even when a grown-up. The complaints filed by him against the MJ Estate have some parts redacted for the general public, but his lawyers and MJ haters who for some reason are extremely knowledgeable about the details of Robson’s case, explain to us that Robson denied everything for so many years because “he thought that rape was a manifestation of love” and “he didn’t realize that it was sexual abuse”.
And not only didn’t he realize it when he was in his teens, but he didn’t realize it when he was almost 23 and testified about Michael’s innocence at the 2005 trial (where he said that MJ had never as much as touched him), and it was only when he turned 30 that some good therapist finally enlightened him on the subject and explained to him that rape is sexual abuse after all.
Never mind that the story is ridiculous, that none of it ever happened and there is overwhelming proof that Robson’s is telling us a huge lie – Robson’s version is so big an insult to human intelligence and common sense that it is no use even going into that.
But there is another possibility here. A kid may indeed not realize that he was sexually abused if it happened to him at a very early age – the very small don’t question the behavior of adults and don’t properly realize what is done to them and why.
Remember Dylan Farrow never liking sitting in Woody Allen’s lap? She felt uncomfortable by what he was doing to her but without realizing what it was. And how is a small kid supposed to know that caressing her hair is perfectly okay, while caressing her other body part is absolutely wrong? The kid will feel uneasy but will still tolerate this behavior because he or she does not see the difference between the two and because small children are always taught by adults to “behave themselves”, obey the elders and do as they are told.
In contrast to that a teenager would not tolerate the same or as a very minimum will be fully aware of what is being done to him or her.
So when a 30-year old man says that “he didn’t realize that it was rape” his story is either fiction or the abuse happened when he was very, very small. There is simply no other alternative no matter how hard the narrator is trying to adjust, extend and apply his story to a different age.
But what is the age borderline between the time when the child “doesn’t realize” and the time when he “already knows”?
All of us were children once, so our own personal experience can help here, however if you don’t want to rely on that here is what scientific research says:
“From the ages of three to seven children begin to have a sense of learned modesty and of the differences between private and public behaviors”.
“From the ages of three to five they are old enough to understand that no one — not even family members or other people they trust — should ever touch them in a way that feels uncomfortable.”
So as regards Robson our estimation will be that at the age of seven and a half, when he went to the US in 1990 and met MJ there, he was mature enough to know and understand that allowing someone to fiddle with his body parts was not quite right.
But at the age of four or five it was probably not that clear to him, same as it was for the rest of us.
To my big surprise this early preschool period in a child’s life turned out to be the time when boys are at the biggest risk of being sexually abused. You will never guess it but according to the US statistics the age when boys are most likely to be sexually assaulted is age four.
Girls enter the main risk group ten years later, at the age of fourteen.
Pennsylvania University did a sweeping research in cooperation with the FBI and other US agencies and its 2001/2002 report said (parents, attention please):
Based on the NIBRS data, the year in a male’s life when he is most likely to be the victim of sexual assault is age 4. By age 17 a male’s risk of victimization has been cut by a factor of 5;
A female’s year of greatest risk is age 14. In the later juvenile years (ages 14-17), the female victimization rates are at least 10 times greater than the male rates for similar age groups.
In short, if ever Robson was sexually abused, according to statistical data and his own description the most likely period when it could happen to him was age four or around it, which was the time well before he went to the US.
If this is the case, Robson is simply using the deceased Michael Jackson as a scapegoat for something he didn’t do but should pay for another person’s guilt. One allegation more about Jackson, one allegation less about him – what does it really matter to some people? The real perpetrator may not have money while the MJ estate does, and this is all that matters for a crooked and cynical mind which is ready to substitute the innocent for the guilty.
Those who think that such a scenario is too far-fetched will have to be reminded that it is based solely on Robson’s own story.
If we assume that he could really be abused in his childhood and for this reason had a nervous breakdown many years later, and if we believe his version that he couldn’t properly understand what had been done to him until he sought some insight therapy at the age of 30, this type of long-term “unawareness” could happen only if the abuse took place at a very early age. There is simply no other alternative here, guys, whatever MJ haters say.
I repeat, only in this case Robson’s childhood experience will be more or less consistent with his current incoherent story and may sound more or less believable to us.
The reason for that has already been pointed out – very small children are unable to realize the meaning of sexual actions towards them by some monstrous “kiddie-fiddlers”, but are able to push the memory of the ugly experience into the back of their minds half-remembering and half-forgetting it, all the time being troubled and depressed for seemingly no reason, and then, many years later have a flashback into the past when some chance occurrence triggers off the painful experience in a kind of a bang.
See what the Australian singer Debra Byrne says in her book “Not quite Ripe” about being abused by her own grandfather since as early as she could remember:
“From inside the car, I can see the beach. I hear my family talking and other children playing games. The game has begun and my senses begin to shut down . . . a familiar smell is in the car, I don’t like it. His hands are on the back of my head, pushing it down . . . I want to cry but I don’t, I want my mum but she never, ever comes. No one looks for me and I know they never will.”
“My grandfather had been sexually abusing me since as early as I can remember,” she recalls. “It’s quite common for a pedophile to abuse a baby… No age is too young, it’s very complex. It’s not that you hate it…you don’t actually understand it – you don’t really have an opinion of it and that’s exactly what you’re meant to have – no opinion of it – because this is out of your control…”
“You don’t really understand it and don’t have an opinion of it” – this is how a very small child feels when being abused. The child knows what is happening and feels horrible about it, but thinks it is appropriate, in the same way kids think it is okay for adults to bathe them or give them bitter-tasting pills and never doubt their right to do so.
So it is Robson’s own description which is suggestive that the abuse (if any) could happen to him only at a very tender age – like him being three, four or five years old. And in this case even in theory it could never be done by MJ as until seven Robson never left Australia, so in search for his possible abuser we will have to go to his homeland and look at his early years there.
There is no guarantee that we will find anything there but we could at least look at the people he associated with and see whether an abuse was possible in the social environment he was in.
EARLY YEARS IN AUSTRALIA
Robson, born on September 17, 1982 made his first TV appearance in 1986, apparently at the age of four. This is when he went on a local Australian talent show “New Faces 4” and performed there a dance routine to Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” (according to this earlier wiki article). Or it could be another MJ’s song given that Smooth Criminal was only in a demo version at the time.
Whatever, a year later, in 1987 he won a contest where the prize was to meet Michael Jackson. The boy and his mother did indeed meet Michael and he even took the little Wade to perform with him on stage the next day. It was Michael Jackson’s second show in Brisbaine during the Bad tour and it took place on November 28, 1987. The boy and his mother once again saw Michael the next morning after the show and talked to him for two hours or so.
After that concert Robson didn’t see Michael for another two years and met him again only in winter 1990 when Robson’s “Johnny Young Talent School” dance troupe was invited to Disneyland.
As we already know it took the family eight days to find the telephone number of Michael’s manager Norma Staikos who eventually arranged for them to visit MJ at his recording studio. Michael invited the Robson children, parents and grandparents to spend two weekends at Neverland and a couple of days in his Los Angeles Westwood condo where the three Robsons stayed with MJ.
All in all during that visit the family spent with Michael around a week and this is why it impressed the child as a “week-long trip” while in reality the family was in the US for nearly a month – at least from the day of his performance at Disneyland, January 26th until approximately February 18th, 1990.
Though this is not the goal of the present post let me still note that any abuse of Wade Robson during those days was absolutely ruled out. Robson’s story gets exceptionally sloppy when it comes to its details and every single detail of what he is saying now is in contradiction with the 2005 testimonies of his own mother Joy, sister Chantal and Michael’s maid Blanca Francia. These people were simply describing on which day they did what never realizing that it would become so instrumental in establishing the truth ten years later and disproving Robson’s current lies (see this, this and this post for the proof of it).
Following that winter 1990 visit Robson and his family travelled to the US on two more occasions, in May and September 1990, and then (what a surprise) spent a whole year away from Michael Jackson which is a fact Robson never mentions since it doesn’t suit his story.
It was within that year that Wade, his mother and sister took a decision to separate from the rest of the family and in September 1991 the three of them went to live in America though according to Robson’s later interview (2002) the remaining part of the family thought it “insane”.
By the time of their arrival in the US Robson had already turned nine. However the age of nine is already well beyond the time limits of the scenario we are investigating here, and that is why we will return back in time, to the year 1987 when Wade was only five.
TURNING PROFESSIONAL AT 1987
Robson’s official website says that his professional career started right after that notable concert with MJ. The very next day after the show he enrolled at a Brisbaine dance school called the Johnny Young Talent School and “became a professional” at the age of five.
In his 2002 interview Robson said that he didn’t want to be choreographed like the rest of the children and liked to “do his own thing”, so they just “put the dancers behind him and choreographed them” while he was perfecting his imitations of Michael Jackson’s dance.
Speaking about Johnny Young’s Talent school Robson said that their child troupe travelled all around Australia and performed in Melbourne and Sydney. The troupe was performing in shopping malls, clubs and on morning TV programs and their concerts were “roughly fourteen times a week” according to his website.
Wait, so they performed fourteen times a week? But this is twice a day on every day of the week including Saturdays and Sundays!
You will agree that so dense a work schedule could be possible only when the young dancers were on holidays, but once they were, the children must have been away from home for whole days, if not weeks.
This is the first time I realized that if Robson travelled with the dance troupe for several years (since 1987 to 1991 when he moved to the US) beginning with age five or six, even the constant presence of his mother would not save the boy from the danger of a possible abuse.
There were surely moments when the children were left on their own, were in the company of older dancers, the school staff or agents taking care of their travel, accommodation and catering, and some of those who were in regular contact with the children could easily turn out to be wrongdoers.
Though this danger sounds abstract you will agree that it did exist, and mind you, we don’t even know if the parents were allowed to accompany the young dancers as taking the parents along with their kids would be double the cost.
There is one other thing I need to mention as regards that dance team.
Below are a few screenshots from the videos of Johnny Young’s Talent school performances of the period when Wade Robson was part of the troupe.
My first surprise was to find that the dance team was made up of children of different ages some of whom looked to me almost like grown-ups.
And the other surprise was the fact that the outfits of the group were somewhat provocative for a team of child dancers. Consider me an old-fashioned and conservative moralist but I simply see no point in having the children dressed in so sexualized a way.
Here is a screenshot from their show in Queen street Mall in Brisbane on the 11th of September 1989 as part of The Warana Festival. This group looks like the fifteen/ sixteen year olds.
And below is a screenshot of the same group performing in Brisbaine a year later.
Considering the scenario we are investigating here you needn’t be surprised by my emphasis on the dance group being mixed in age.
The US statistics quoted earlier says that in terms of sexual abuse older juveniles are very often a threat to younger children.
Researchers from Pennsylvania University say:
“During the course of our field research we encountered many “opportunistic customers” of children for sex.
The majority of these persons were men (75%), but a distinct minority were other juveniles (20%) and women (5%).
With the exception of the juveniles interviewed, most of these sexual exploiters of children did not indicate a sexual preference for children but, rather, said they had sex with children because “they were available”.
So for some people all that matters is that “children are available”, you see?
With regard to Robson’s dance troupe all this talk about a theoretical danger from older juveniles is purely abstract of course and it would be totally improper to assert anything here, but since in theory it was possible this risk factor still needs to be mentioned.
As to the children’s provocative outfits look at the screenshot of their performance on January 12th, 1990 (it was right on the eve of their travel to Disneyland on January 26th) where the seven-year old Robson was dancing with some girls.
Debra Byrne mentioned above, was also a member of the Johnny Young Talent team and also found it unsettling that the 1980s were marked by the tendency of the YTT staff to make the children look more adult-like.
She says that in the 70s when she was part of the team the children on YTT were much more child-like.
Debra joined Young Talent Time (YTT) in 1971, and now finds it unsettling to look back on some of the episodes.
“If you look back at the original YTT there was a lot more child-like appearance, and unfortunately a lot of that footage was destroyed… so what we see now is of the 80s, and they did start to fluff up a lot… They were wearing a lot of make-up, 80’s hair, accessories… whereas when we were in the show the skirts were high, sure, but they weren’t trying to make us look like adults..”
However irrespective of the YTT tendency to make the children look more adult-like and provocative at the time when Robson was with that school, none of it would really matter if no cases of child sexual abuse ever took place within the walls of the company.
Unfortunately this is not the case.
At least one girl was abused on the YTT premises and this is actually what we know (and how much we don’t?). The girl was Debra Byrne, and yes, it was the Debra Byrne we have already talked about.
The man who groomed, seduced and eventually raped her was one of the employees of Johnny Young Talent Time crew who worked as the boom operator at the YTT studio. Later he was charged with statutory rape and convicted of “carnal knowledge” as Debra Byrne describes it in her autobiography book.
JOHNNY YOUNG TALENT TIME
Unlike Robson Debra Byrne was not studying at the Johnny Young Talent school but was a member of the original cast of the Johnny Young Talent Time show produced for TV.
This young talent quest show ran for 17 years from 1971 to the end of 1988 and was the core project of Lewis-Young Productions, a partnership between host Johnny Young and his friend Kevin Lewis.
The schools where Wade Robson and other children learned the art of performing were opened by Johnny Young several years later after the launch of YTT on TV and were Johnny Young’s separate project though in some association with the show.
YTT was very popular in Australia and it was a dream of every Australian boy and girl to be selected for its main cast. The age limit for the applicants was strict – as soon as the children turned 16 they had to leave the show and make room for other budding stars with a gift for singing and dancing.
It seems that many children and their parents regarded the talent schools run by Johnny Young as a sort of a preliminary step to Johnny’s YTT show and this makes me think that Wade Robson also joined the school in the hope to eventually make it to TV and join the regular cast.
Wiki says that generations of Australian children believed that if they worked hard enough they would become a star like the kids on YTT:
Because the series ran for such a long time and featured young performers, Young Talent Time made an indelible mark on the psyche of several generations of Australian children, leading them to believe that if they tried hard enough, they too could be a ‘star’ like the kids they saw on television (Johnny Young launched talent schools in his own name in early 1980s).
Lorena Novoa, a member of the YTT show who began her career at Johnny Young’s Talent School recalls the way her dream of joining the regular cast came true. She says they went to sing and dance there after their school hours and on one happy day her gift for singing was noticed by Johnny Young himself.
“It had all happened so quickly. Six months earlier I’d enrolled at the Johnny Young Talent School. After school I’d go there to sing and dance. My dedication paid off when I sparked the interest of Young Talent Time creator, Johnny Young himself! ‘We’d love you to join the team,’ he’d said.
Now, here I was sitting backstage with the very people I’d watched on TV. I was singing for the nation on Young Talent Time, one of Australia’s biggest television shows.
<>When the TV season came to an end, we’d go on tour, performing around the country. It didn’t take long for the Young Talent Time crew to become my second family. In 1987, after three amazing years in the limelight, my stint on the show came to an end. I was too old to perform.
‘What will I do now?’ I sobbed to Mum. I had to learn who I was without being Lorena from Young Talent Time. The following year, I was devastated when Young Talent Time was taken off the air after a 17 year run.”
Indeed the Johnny Young Talent Time show was known to be a successful springboard for several stars who made a lasting career in entertainment industry, and this is why it was so big a shock for everyone when at the beginning of 1989 the TV network announced that the show would not be resumed.
“The ‘talent quest’ aspect of YTT, which discovered many budding stars, was not new, but YTT differed from other talent quests in one crucial respect — the best young performers they discovered were offered the chance to develop their craft and career by becoming permanent members of the cast, the so-called ‘Young Talent Team’.
Over the years, dozens of kids were selected as regular performers on the show and its enormous popularity made them household names. Some stayed only briefly in the limelight, but many went on to make lasting careers in entertainment and a few even became major stars; their success is a lasting tribute to Johnny’s encouragement and guidance. Among the best known YTT discoveries are Tina Arena, Debra Byrne, Dannii Minogue, Jane Scali, Jamie Redfern, Rod Kirkham, Phillip Gould, Karen Knowles and Joey Perone.
For nearly twenty years, from 1969 to 1989, Johnny had enjoyed great success with his various enterprises, but in the late 80s and early 90s he faced a series of painful reversals that, for a while, looked like they might wreck his career and his life. The trouble began in 1989 when the Ten Network abruptly cancelled Young Talent Time, a decision that cost Johnny dearly. He had recently invested every cent he had to build his own TV studio facility to produce the show but the unexpected cancellation forced him to sell his family home to meet the debts.
The problem was that the show had been struggling for ratings in its final years and finally lost to a competitor called “Hey Hey It’s Saturday”.
Interesting, but for some reason Debra Byrne thought it necessary to post on her FB the news that the long-time director of “Hey Hey It’s Saturday” was recently acquitted of raping and assaulting a 17-year old employee sometime in the 1990s. The accuser alleged that he was told that it was “all part of show business”. On her FB Debra Byrne posted this article about that case without any comment.
Whatever it was, after the YTT show lost to its competitor, the Johnny Young Talent School still functioned for some time and was later merged with another school for performance arts (Studios Entertainment School). But even while it was still operating it surely lost most of its allure to the hopeful youngsters as there was no more prospect of going on TV and turning into a star there.
This point is important to note, because now it doesn’t look like a chance occurrence that a year after that TV show was closed Robson and his mother began looking for other opportunities for themselves.
Indeed, if you connect the dots you will realize that by the time Robson went with his dance school to Disneyland in January 1990, the YTT show on TV had not been functioning already for a year and this is probably why he decided to “further pursue his talents after a dance at Disneyland sparked his interest in the US” as his official website says.
As a side note let me say that in the context of Robson’s present claims this “sparked interest” wording sounds somewhat surprising as it clearly shows that it was Robson’s own intention and wish to move to America and Michael Jackson was simply a convenient connection for making these plans possible.
However let us go back to Debra Byrne and see what happened to her when she was with the YTT.
THE CASE OF DEBRA BYRNE
In her autobiography book published in 2006 Debra Byrne recalls that it was on YTT that she was introduced to sex, drugs and alcohol.
From 24 October 2006, weekly magazine New Idea featured articles on Byrne’s autobiography, Not Quite Ripe, which alleged that from the age of 12 she was introduced to sex, drugs and alcohol on Young Talent Time.
The claims were vigorously denied by Young. He stated that Byrne was already 14 when she started and that drugs were not available on set. “Any drug-taking Debra did, she certainly didn’t do it on our show.” He said no-one on the show was aware of her affair with “Michael”, a boom operator ten years her senior.
Johnny Young said that he was always conscious of a duty of care to the children working on Young Talent Time and was adamant he didn’t know anything. I fully believe him, however it doesn’t make things easier for anyone – whether he knew or didn’t know, the girl was still seduced, raped and engaged in an ongoing sexual relationship with someone who was part of his crew.
And if there was a child abuser on the YTT show no one can guarantee that there were none among the staff of the YTT school, where the five or six-year old Robson was performing and who he was travelling with.
If it happened once it could happen twice, and same as Johnny Young didn’t know about Debra’s abuse he could be unaware of other similar occurrences too.
Johnny Young’s reaction to what Debra Byrne said about the situation with sex, drug and alcohol on the set was an extremely angry one:
“Johnny Young’s first reaction to the magazine story was one of absolute anger and then fear about what the story would do to the careers of the people running his talent schools and what parents, who entrust their children into the care of the teachers at those schools, would think”.
His reply to Debra was formal, businesslike and surprisingly harsh considering that the girl was really abused by one of his employees and she didn’t do anything to Young or demand of him except just mentioning that episode in her autobiography book.
Johnny Young focused on the damage her revelations could do to his business and threatened to sue the magazine that published excerpts from her book, especially since the magazine misinterpreted and exaggerated the story (as is usual with the media). By the time of that publication Young had opened a new Johnny Young Talent school and the things that concerned him most were the enrolment figures and his ratings on the radio.
Even despite what happened to Debra Johnny Young claimed that the duty of care for children entrusted to him was 100 per cent:
Young said he was always conscious of a duty of care to the children working on Young Talent Time.
“We had security people everywhere and we were very aware we were dealing with children,” Young said.
“Our duty of care was 100 per cent when those children were in our care, but those children were not in our care 24 hours a day.
“They were in our care for three to four hours a day after school and on Saturdays they were delivered by their parents to Channel 10 and they rehearsed and at 6.30pm we would do the show.”
<>”I wanted to do one story where I could say `this is what’s happened to me without any care for 20 years of hard work – probably the most important thing I’ve done in my career – tarnished with lies’.
“Whether I sue them or not will be a business decision I’ll have to make depending on whether the kids re-enrol in the school and how my ratings go on the radio because people may not want to listen to me any more if they believe that crap.”
Debra replied to Johnny Young with posts on her FB page and it is here where the story becomes really interesting. In her posts she provides the unique details of the way things were organized at YTT and of the humiliation she had to go through when her abuse was uncovered as well as the treatment she, a real victim of abuse, was getting from the YTT people:
- “I am not afraid of being taken to court I am afraid of never having a day where I can speak in court of what I know and what happened and who it happened with. I have been threatened and told I am crazy a fake and most horridly, responsible for the abuse.”
- “Johnny Young states there was security for us. This is untrue. There were security guards at Channel 0 but they were not employed to look after the children and they were not employed by Lewis Young Productions.”
- “I was groomed, seduced and eventually raped and emotionally manipulated by Michael Bain Outtrim the boom operator on YTT.”
- “…the relationship between myself and Michael Bain Outtrim who was later charged and convicted with carnal knowledge, began in the first year of YTT. At the end of that year I had already been sexually assaulted. Caravan Holiday was made in 1972. I was still 14 years old. In 1972 I attended sessions for counselling at the children’s court building which was on Batman Avenue. When the court case took place I was 15 years and Lewis Young productions employed a lawyer to have the case closed on the day.”
- “he was employed to ensure the case was heard in a closed court. my mother and I did not know that was going to occur until the morning we arrived at court. the case was heard in a closed court.”
- “I was forced to be a witness for the police as the man was charged and later convicted. It has been said that I have accused persons working on YTT they should have been looking out for the children on the show. Well that’s absolutely true. How did a man speak with a young girl enough to groom and seduce.? It took months. We met in vacant control rooms. My parents were not there to watch out for me. The parents were not in the studios or rehearsals or taping of shows. So who’s job was it to look after the children?
- Latest from Johnny Young is I am a low life.
- I am accused of harassing his family and having no morals.
- Dale Evans who worked at Channel 0 and knew Michael Outtrim has written on FB that Michael who she says LOVED me was charged and convicted and his life was ruined and so what do I want. I did not choose to ruin his life. He took that path when he first second third fourth fifth time attempted to have sex with me until he raped me and then after which made promises of love and marriage and when he was caught and charged pleaded not guilty took my love letters and poems and cards and scarf to the court house as evidence of my willingness.
- You say <>that I was a willing participant in all things including Michael Outtrim. And that I should forgive myself for what I was and did. I was 14 15 years Michael was 24 and he would after trying to have intercourse with me tell me that I was frigid cold and that I didn’t love him. I didn’t know what frigid meant but what I did know is that each time he tried it hurt a lot. I wasn’t so willing Dale.
- Maybe I was 13 when I started rehearsing for the show, not 12, but I was very, very young and the fact is I was underage and having a sexual relationship with a crew member and the court case that followed was extremely harrowing.
- The police told me that the Channel 0 executives believed I was nothing but a little moll who had seduced Michael. Michael’s solicitor said that Michael wasn’t the only man I was having sex with, he asked me if I had used tampons before I had sex with Michael . . . tears were streaming down my face, I keep swallowing and gagging on my words. . .
When all of it was happening no one yet knew that Debra had earlier been abused by her grandfather – she revealed it only in her book published many years later. Back in 1972 she was simply one of the many hopeful and innocent youngsters like everyone else on that show. And she didn’t willingly fall into that boom operator’s arms – it was a classical modus operandi of every pedophile that included brainwashing the girl and grooming and seducing her that took months.
Surprisingly, but what our poor Robson “didn’t understand” until the age of 30 this young girl already knew when she was fifteen. And this in spite of the fact that she was also confusing the abuse with “love” and was even attached to her abuser.
Occasionally it seemed to me that Robson used Debra Byrne’s 2006 book as a blueprint for his claims – when, for example, the molester was persuading her that it was “love”. However even here her behavior had a decided difference from Robson’s, because even despite all her confusion and “love” for the guy it didn’t stop the fifteen year old girl from telling the truth to the police — though it cost her a torrent of tears streaming down her face and lots of humiliation and ridicule from the company’s executives.
And please note that this girl had to break ice by her statements and persuade everyone that she was telling the truth – in contrast to Robson for whom nothing could be easier than testifying against Jackson. Back in 2005 the prosecution, media and the public didn’t need any persuasion as everyone was actually expecting accusations and even wanted Robson to confirm what they thought they knew about Jackson anyway.
And is it possible to imagine the stuttering and sobbing Debra defending her molester in court and sounding off-hand and easy as Robson was? And even cracking jokes like he did at the 2005 trial?
Absolutely not and this is how you know a difference between a true victim and a fake one.
In Debra’s case the YTT production company and its bosses were indeed responsible for their employee and the children in their care, and this again is in stark contrast with Robson who is now shaking for money those who could not exercise any control over the situation, even if there had been anything to control.
As to our supposition that Robson was abused by someone else when he was a very small kid, and this is why he didn’t realize what happened to him, and now he is covering up for this fact by making false claims against the innocent man now that we know how security was organized at the YTT venues and that a person who was supposed to help children was actually abusing them, the chances that something of the kind could happen to Robson are no longer as abstract as they initially looked.
And this becomes all the more true when we learn that Debra Byrne was sexually assaulted again and it again happened at one of the YTT venues.
The incident took place when after the trial Debra resumed her role on the TV show. The public didn’t know of her abuse as the case was heard in a closed court and the audience would have been perplexed if she had disappeared from the show without any explanation.
But for the YTT insiders Debra was obviously “damaged goods” and one of their crew took advantage of her again. Though this assault is only an alleged one, there is no reason for us not to believe Debra Byrne – she is a well-known Australian personality and she wouldn’t risk her reputation by telling fictional tales.
In 2014 Debra Byrne told more about her work with YTT and revealed that when she was making a film “Caravan Holiday” together with other YTT young performers she was digitally raped in a swimming pool by one of the crew.
She also referenced another incident which allegedly took place while she and Johnny Young were filming a Red Tulip Chocolates commercial but didn’t elaborate on what happened in that studio.
Her post on FB read:
- Hello to you all and I hope that you will be able and willing to help me. [Michael Outtrim] was charged and convicted of carnal knowledge. I was the girl he abused. I was on young talent time and he was the boom operator on the show. He pleaded not guilty but after a horrendous experience of virgin testing and giving detailed sexual evidence at a very young age the court case was adjourned. [Outtrim] then pleaded guilty and took along with him the priest who spoke on Sundays mornings television from channel O. He was convicted and given 12 months good behavior. After that horrid experience I continued on with my part in YTT later in the summer the YTT team took part in the filming of Caravan Holiday… the cameraman on that film was [name withheld] after a days filming we the YTT and crew were swimming in a pool. I don’t recall where the pool was but while I was in the pool [name withheld] swam up to me and digitally raped me. I was a very disturbed girl and was abused I believe because I was considered fair game. I am now asking if anyone can remember being in one of the smaller studios at channel O [name withheld] and I were filming a commercial for red Tulip Chocolates for a Easter show. I remember the sound man was a very short man and a friend of [name withheld] there were more than two people in the studio. If this jogs anyone’s memory and you are comfortable to speak with me about what took place in the studio please me. Blessings, Debra Byrne
With the help of her YTT friends Debra seemed to find the name of the person responsible for her new sexual assault. Her cryptic notes on FB said:
- “His name was Barry but is now Barrie”
- “thank you I have confirmation of Barrie Windley working with Johnny Young at Television house. can anyone else remember him there?
- “just a little more info regarding Barrie Windley I am trying to locate him. I am told he worked with Johnny Young during the 80’s at Television House Lennox st Richmond.”
The notes were accompanied by a photo of Barrie Windley who turned out to be a middle-aged man pictured on stage close to a small boy with a microphone in his hands.
Judging by the picture this person definitely worked with the children who performed on stage and had a contact with many of them.
It seems that Debra’s little investigation took her nowhere however this is not the point.
The point is that all of the above portrays a horrendous atmosphere of loose and anything-is-allowed attitude towards children that were engaged in show business at least back in the 1980s.
This monstrous atmosphere reigned on TV and in movie film studios and evidently at other venues where children were performing, most probably including schools like Robson’s too.
And it did not necessarily concern only YTT. It seems that this atmosphere was everywhere (remember the allegations about the “Hey Hey It’s Saturday” boss?) and the fact that child abuse was so wide-spread at the time is the real reason why it happened to Debra again and again. The entertainment business involving children attracted too many perverts who knew that kids were an easy target and no one would really listen to them if they complained.
So are there any questions now whether sexual abuse could happen to young Robson too? I have no doubt whatsoever that at least the chance for it was there.
If you are not yet convinced let us have a look at another case – that of Jamie Redfern who was another YTT member and who was by the way also filmed in that 1972 Caravan Holiday YTT movie on whose premises Debra Byrne was sexually assaulted.
Jamie Redfern was 14 when he joined the YTT show original cast. The boy had a great voice and was a huge success with the Australian audience.
He was called “the Australian King of Pop”, “a little boy with a big voice” and even had a separate “Jamie Redfern Show” with Johnny Young as a host and other YTT cast that sold a number of concerts at Melbourne’s Festival Hall.
What happened to Jamie Redfern is that after ten months with YTT he was taken on a long tour over the US by an admirer who was no other than Liberace.
Jamie Redfern’s success in the US was also a smashing one, but when he returned to Australia after a 16-months long tour with Liberace his career suddenly came to a halt.
There is no apparent reason for so sudden a change and I am not inclined to take seriously the information in one source that says that “his career ground to a halt after a dispute over a recording contract”.
This boy had too great a talent to be so easily rejected by the entertainment industry, especially after the rave reviews of his performances in the US.
Here he is singing “I’m your little boy”:
I must have become too nervous by now about the atmosphere surrounding those boys and girls back in the 80s and am probably imagining things, but it gives me a shudder to think that two years before Liberace took the 16-year old Scott Thorson into his home and a week later entered into a relationship with him (according to Thorson), Liberace also freely picked for himself another 15-year old and toured with him for 16 months.
The Australian Broadcasting Commission interview with Johnny Young showed how the naïve YTT staff was thrilled by this exclusive opportunity for their protégé. They most probably didn’t know of Liberace’s ways or were too trustful of others, but whichever way it was it did put the young boy at a risk of being abused:
JOHNNY YOUNG: He came in, he was only 13, 14 or something, and, er, what a voice. He’d could just stand there and sing a song without any accompaniment. You know, the true boy soprano with a really, really big powerful voice.
MARIE-CLAIRE WOLLASTON: Jamie’s star was rising fast. He was having hit after hit in the charts, wooing audiences and picking up nearly as many awards as he had fans. But it was when he was presented the King of Pop award by Liberace that his life changed forever.
LIBERACE: Incidentally, Johnny, I’ve been watching the show and I’ve enjoyed all the performers who have been on and that little boy, that Jamie, he’s fantastic. He really… I’d like to take him back to the States.
JOHNNY YOUNG: I thought he was only joking and, a few days later, we got a call from Seymour Heller who’s a delightful man who was also managing Shirley MacLaine and Debbie Reynolds and a whole bunch of other people in America. He rang us and said, “Look, we really would like to take him to America and have him as a special guest on Liberace’s program.”
Jamie Redfern is not giving much comment on Liberace and just noted that “there were rumors at the time” which he clearly doesn’t like to dwell on. Now he is a happily married man with two daughters who is running the Academy of Dance and Acting in Melbourne and hosts his own national television show “Jamie Redfern’s Superkids” which airs weekly on the Australian TV.
But what Jamie Redfern does admit is that he is battling depression, same as some other YTT child stars.
As it happens, depression has left it’s indelible mark on me in ways I could never have imagined, and my family and I continue to deal with it’s accursed and seemingly relentless impact on our lives on a “one day at a time” basis.
<>I know some people like that, and I bet you do too. A number of my Young Talent Time brothers and sisters fight depression – although watch them perform live and I can bet you couldn’t tell which of them it is.
Oh, and by the way, … yes, I’m a battler too !
Depression is not necessarily connected with the abuse in one’s childhood and may easily be the result of frustrated childhood hopes, a decline in the career and a myriad other reasons (which are equally true for Robson).
But when Robson is now complaining of depression and links it to some sexual abuse, let us first note that he is not the only one to have it – several other child stars from exactly the same surrounding are suffering from it too. And secondly, if sex abuse is the real reason for his depression the trail is definitely taking us back to his childhood years in Australia for reasons explained above.
Johnny Young doesn’t seem to be engaged in any of it and there were never any allegations against him personally. His company and entertainment business involving children attracted too many perverts at the time and it was difficult to know who was up to what there. So if there was any guilt on John Young’s part, it looks like it was too much trust in the wrong people and too much focus on his business being a success, with everything else being a side matter.
And if it wasn’t just too much trust how else can we explain that after Jamie Redfern’s time with Liberace the YTT staff thought of nothing better than offer him another hopeful teenager?
This second boy was Dennis Walter who was 15-years old and had a uniquely deep baritone unusual for his age. Listen to him here (audio only): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r0n75OoYxQ).
The YTT staff apparently meant well and suggested that Liberace had a look at Dennis Walter after Jamie Redfern returned from America.
“Set to follow in the footsteps of boy wonder Jamie Redfern, Walter was the second Young Talent Time discovery destined for international greatness under the watch of Liberace. But while Redfern went on to US television and touring with rave reviews, for Walter the outcome was another story.
“Jamie’s time was coming to an end and Liberace was touring Australia, so it was suggested by the Young Talent Time people, that he have a look at me and hear my voice. It was the novelty of the skinny 15 year old with the big deep voice,” said Walter.
“There were about 20 people and he listened to me sing and there was all this excitement about me going to the States.”
Liberace did indeed choose Dennis as his second companion for performing in the US, however something went wrong with that project – after the initial joint rehearsal with Liberace and “some material organized” the boy was taken to the US where Liberace went on a tour but the boy stayed all alone. Liberace’s manager (a very nice person as they say) invited him to his home on one occasion but that was it – Dennis Walter never met Liberace again and returned to Australia where he pursued his career of a singer for 40 years ever since.
The elation of the YTT staff about their young protégés going to the US with the great Liberace shows that they evidently didn’t know of the performer’s succession of underage male sexual partners which is no secret to anyone now. But irrespective of their good intentions those boys were put at a risk, and no one can guarantee that something of the kind didn’t happen to the very young Robson wonder kid.
As a final word to this saga let me tell you that after the YTT show was closed the gay issue had an unexpected and a totally ridiculous follow-up. Robson had already left for the US by then, but the story of Johnny Young’s Talent Time would be totally incomplete if we didn’t mention this episode.
“IS HE A PEDOPHILE?”
At the beginning of the 1990s Terry Higgins who was a long-time Young Talent Time studio director was diagnosed with AIDS. The YTT show had already been closed by then and Johnny Young was going through a time of big trouble – he had lost his business, family house and even his marriage. However Terry was a friend of his and when he was diagnosed with AIDS Johnny Young financially supported him. And when Terry sought some miracle cure “ozone therapy” in the Philippines Johnny followed him there.
There were gay and non-gay patients at the clinic and Johnny Young stayed there for 12 months until one day the Philippines authorities raided them. It turned out that the clinic had been run without a permit and as soon as the police appeared all the staff including doctors and nurses vanished within moments. The police arrested Young as the most visible target and threw him into a military prison on charges that he was running an illegal AIDS clinic.
Subsequently all charges were dropped, but Young’s public image was damaged by media coverage of rumors regarding his sexuality. Soon after Johnny Young and his friend returned to Australia Terry Higgins died and besides the shock of his friend’s death Johnny Young was devastated to learn that his own reputation had been ruined.
He explained it on the Australian TV program in 2000:
JOHNNY: Then when I came back it even got worse. Because, and it didn’t occur to me at the time… It’s like “well Johnny Young does this programme with children. What’s he doing in an AIDS Clinic?” was the thought, right, and it raises thoughts in people’s heads. “What is he.. gay.. Why has he got a gay friend?” You know he was a friend. The fact that he was gay has nothing to do with it. I’ve got lots of gay friends and Irish friends, and Jewish friends and Catholic friends and all sorts of friends. But that was the toughest part.
LISA HOWES (YTT music coordinator): There were always rumours and stories about John because no one could ever believe that he was ah as sweet and as flawless as he appeared. And of course he wasn’t. Of course he had flaws. And I know all the years that I worked with the show and afterwards there were lots of rumours about. “Well any grown man that spends so much time with young children must have a problem there.” I think that 50% of the audience that regularly watched the show watched it because they loved him. I think 50% of the audience that regularly watched the show loved to watch it because they hated him.
MARY REILLY: I remember one of the guys in the group saying when he returned at the airport. He had cameras shoved in his face and reporters screaming at him, you know. “Is John Young Gay? Is he a paedophile?” It just went into absolute hysteria.
JOHNNY: This guy saw me and he said “that’s Johnny Young.. get the kids out of here. I don’t want to be in the same place as he is.” Now that just devastated me. It just completely devastated me. I couldn’t believe it. It knocked me about. I couldn’t talk to people for days. I couldn’t believe it had got to that. And then I thought, well how do I defend this. Well you can’t. You know if I defend it, it’s like ‘though protesteth too much.’ If I’ve ever been inappropriate with a juvenile, with a younger person, don’t you think they would have come out of the woodwork by now to get their lousy hundred thousand dollars off the media for the expose. But there’s nothing to expose.
Though Johnny Young surely has his own flaws the ungrounded accusations thrown at him in the 90s made me side with him at the last moment. After seeing what has been done to MJ, we know that nothing can be worse than unjust allegations against the innocent.
Johnny Young is right – there is nothing to expose about him. He is absolutely not a child abuser and his biggest flaw as I’ve said seems to be too much trust in the wrong people, and this is probably the biggest reason why all these misfortunes fell on him and the children in his care.
He has learned his lesson hard and it took him much time to revive his reputation and career. His current business has returned to its former success – a new Johnny Young Talent School has been established and in 2012 the Australian television revived his YTT show with a new cast and host to look for new talent among Australian children.
And in 2013 Johnny Young’s Talent School visited Disneyland again…
If we go back to Robson and reply to the question whether he could be really abused in his early years during his time with the YTT school, after all we have heard about this business an honest answer would be YES, HE COULD. Considering his surrounding and all the precedents we’ve learned of, the sexual abuse of the small boy while he was in Australia cannot be absolutely ruled out.
In addition some other conclusions can be made here.
Robson decided to leave Australia not so much due to Michael Jackson. A much more probable reason for his decision was the closure of the YTT show, the indefinite future of his dance school and no more publicity opportunities for Robson owing to Johnny Young’s own misfortunes. Robson’s mother no longer saw any prospects for her son on the Australian TV and local entertainment industry and this is why both decided to try their luck in the US.
So when the seven of them travelled to America in 1990 it was a sort of a reconnaissance trip and this is why they stayed in the US for almost a month. Michael Jackson was sought after also for purely practical reasons.
At least a year prior to their September 1991 move Joy’s relations with her husband deteriorated and when they finally decided to part the younger children followed the mother to the US, while their older brother stayed with the father. We can very well guess that the plan to go to the US was supported by Joy’s parents (with whom they travelled to the US) but was not supported by the relatives on the father’s side who thought it “insane” as Wade Robson admitted.
And Michael absolutely didn’t insist on their coming to the US. Prior to their move they hadn’t seen each other for a year but when the final decision was taken he didn’t leave them alone, assisted them in their relocation and helped to get some foothold in America.
And now Robson is paying Michael back by placing on him the responsibility for his sexual abuse which judging by his own story could happen to him only at a very early age (if ever at all) and at the hands of another person.
Michael Jackson is an easy target and Robson is taking advantage of it now. By accusing the real perpetrator Robson can gain nothing except negative publicity and the recollections that hurt, however by accusing the MJ Estate he can grab a big prize – if luck is on his side – and get even with them for refusing him a lucrative job on the Immortal and other MJ projects.
And isn’t it a marvel that all these conclusions arise from the way Robson is telling his story himself?
What I would also like people to realize is that the situation with Robson may turn out to be more complex than we think it to be.
The choice is not necessarily between “he was abused and is telling the truth” and “he was not abused and is telling a lie”. There might be a combination of it – he could be abused, but is lying that it was MJ.
Someone could have paid him to place the guilt of other(s) on an innocent person.