Hinch Says

He's Still Lying

A postscript to my exposure last month of the repulsive, hypocritical behaviour of religious leader Mal Garvin. The self-styled evangelist who in January of last year was awarded the Order of Australia at the same time he was taking sexual advantage of a young child abuse victim who was in his care. Several months after receiving his award, the 68-year old was displaying the medal and boasting about it at the bedside of a young woman who had tried to kill herself to escape his relentless sexual advances.

I interviewed the victim and visited the tiny town of Poatina in Tasmania which Garvin’s Christian group, called Fusion Australia, bought some years ago. Talked to the victim and to several Fusion executives.
A few months after that, Garvin, a self-styled ‘psychotherapist’, author, teacher, youth counsellor and biblical expert,  quietly ‘retired’ from the youth and community network he had built around the world, after Fusion Australia’s National Executive found him guilty of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ and ‘errors of judgement’ with ‘a vulnerable young woman’.

His victim alleges it was much much more than that. And it nearly killed her.
I offered Garvin the chance to come on this program and answer the accusations aired on 3AW and in the Sunday Age. Instead, on Facebook and in a letter to the Editor he  claimed ‘Hinch’s article was the first time I have heard these specific allegations and I have got to say I am so relieved. They are so far from the truth that anybody who knows me will know they are over the top.’

He said he was prepared to admit he had ‘made mistakes.’  Well, now he has given a new version of events to the religious paper Eternity.

Garvin now says:
‘To summarize my mistakes, while attempting to help the young woman and being sensitive to her damaged esteem, I received suggestive text messages from her that I did not communicate to anyone else.

‘On two occasions I responded unwisely to suggestive text messages. On three occasions I responded wrongly to her advances and as a result there was inappropriate physical contact. In all of this, even though I sensed she was at risk, I failed to seek help or advice, wrongly believing I could manage it on my own. The price of my mistake has been very high personally and I am deeply sorry for the hurt caused, not least for the young woman who I wasn’t able to help.’
He still can’t tell the truth.  His victim ‘Sarah’ says he sent her hundreds of text messages. Sometimes between three and 20 a day and it went on for months. She is happy for Telstra to release the records.

The Eternity article says ‘while Sarah and Garvin’s account’s differ in describing who chased who, they are both clear that sex did not take place.’

Not so. Unless you don’t count partial penetration or masturbation as sex. That’s the Bill Clinton excuse.
There are other holes in Garvin’s story. He says that my Sunday Age article in March 2010 was the first he had heard of the allegations. And yet in his letter of denial he says he ‘fully disclosed the details of all of this to an independent panel’ back in 2006, just before the Fusion board forced his resignation.

I stress two more things. I again offer Garvin the chance to come on my radio program to refute my allegations. And I still believe, if he had a shred of decency, he would send back his Order of Australia or it should be taken from him.
This man received our highest order for services to the welfare of Australia’s young people. And at the time he accepted it he was abusing a fragile, vulnerable young woman who had gone to him for help and whose trust he defiled. Said God wanted her to have sex with him to make her get better.
Mal Garvin does not deserve this award. He should return it or be stripped of it.

Footnote:  The last word should go to his victim Sarah who is trying to build a life from a very fragile base. Reading Garvin’s latest self-preserving version of events she said: ‘He really is a bastard, isn’t he’.
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