A compelling, new Australian podcast unveils the dark past of a serial pedophile who worked as a much-loved nurse on a children’s ward.
Investigative journalist Camille Bianchi has worked for months on the story, hoping to empower survivors and help them regain their voices.
The Nurse is already causing waves in Tasmania, and covers how a seemingly warm, dedicated member of the community was able to fool everyone around him for so long.
In a major development on Saturday, it was revealed that a class action investigation has been launched against the Tasmanian Health Service in response to the allegations of child sexual abuse against the now-deceased nurse.
“It’s this grandfatherly figure, this paediatric nurse, volunteer medic – a guy who was quite widely beloved and known,” Ms Bianchi told The New Daily.
“And across his life he was a bartender, he was an excavator, he worked on the Spirit of Tasmania, he had ‘a finger in every pie’, as one nurse said to me.
“He raised some red flags, but a lot of people didn’t know he had this duality, and he collected victims for decades.”
The case and cover-up, Ms Bianchi said, was “like a movie”.
I don’t know how people ignored this. I’m getting the full scope of who knew what, when … there were grievous errors, there was gross misconduct.”
One of the most frustrating elements of this case is the lack of justice for survivors
Until April this year, Tasmanian survivors of sexual assault were bound by similar laws seen in Victoria that severely impacted what they could and couldn’t publicly say.
“There were a lot of barriers to this hitting the press,” Ms Bianchi said.
More frustrating still was that after confessing to police and being charged in relation to the abuse, the nurse in question (who The New Daily has not named for legal reasons, though he is named in the podcast) took his own life.
The disappointing conclusion for survivors, combined with the lack of accountability of those in power who ignored years of complaints, were two of the strongest motivators behind Ms Bianchi’s self-funded podcast.
“The lack of action on the part of people whose job it is to protect vulnerable people, and vulnerable children – it’s the driving force behind this story,” she said.
“It’s bullies getting away with stuff. He was a bully, and the people who I contend protected him are bullies too.
Unfortunately pedophiles and predators – they exist, but how people stand by and enable them is a different matter.”
Driven to expose the misconduct and provide a sense of justice to survivors who have been robbed of their day in court, Ms Bianchi said her work was far from over.
With the launch of The Nurse, members of the Launceston community have reached out to express their disbelief.
“So many people are coming to me now, distressed. They’re distressed because this is a man who had a lot of love in the community, a lot of people had a lot of time for him, and he showed that side.
“He was a master manipulator and he was very good at it. A lot of people have come to me shocked.”
The power of people and podcasts
If Hedley Thomas’ The Teachers Pet and Billy Jensen and Paul Holes’ The Murder Squad have taught us anything, it’s that journalist-powered true crime podcasts often have the ability to create real-life, meaningful change for the community and for survivors.
By taking on cases neglected by the justice system, The Teacher’s Pet and The Murder Squad were able to foster a sense of unity among listeners and survivors, and revitalise long-forgotten cases leading to fresh arrests decades after the cases went cold.
And while a conviction in this case is no longer possible, Ms Bianchi is still hopeful the publicity will urge Tasmanian officials to continue their probe and examine those in power who turned a blind eye.
“I want to see an inquiry and meaningful intervention, potentially, into what went down,” she said.
“Reform on a number of levels for training for [medical] staff – I want people to feel empowered.
“There are a lot of young men and a lot of old men in caring roles who are wonderful, and a big disappointment for me would be if they lost trust as a default.
“But I think we do need to examine what we let people get away with in terms of things that make us uncomfortable.”
- If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. Victims of sexual assault can find support at 1800 RESPECT – 1800 737 732