Australia’s principal opera company, Opera Australia, and tenor David Lewis are being sued over child sexual abuse offences that occurred in the 1990s.
The survivor was a member of Opera Australia’s children’s chorus when she was around 14 or 15 years old. Lewis, who was 34 years old at the time, befriended the girl and started grooming her when he learned about her traumatic childhood.
The first time Lewis touched the girl, he put his hand inside her underwear while they were performing on stage.
On another occasion, the production’s dance captain caught Lewis receiving oral sex from the teenage girl in a stairwell at the Sydney Opera House. The dance captain “immediately took off” and reported the abuse to the chorus master.
Soon after, Opera Australia hired a childminder who said:
“The most important thing is that you keep the children away from the adults and the adults away from the children.”
It wasn’t the first time Opera Australia had received complaints from employees about Lewis. Multiple Opera Australia employees reported Lewis for child abuse but their complaints fell on deaf ears.
“Opera Australia is like the Catholic Church in miniature,” one of Opera Australia’s employees told the court.
Lewis served a two-year sentence for two counts of sexual intercourse with a person aged between 10 and 16 and three charges of aggravated indecent assault. At the sentencing in 2018, the judge said Lewis only stopped offending because he had been caught.
He was released from jail in December 2020.
Get the justice you deserve with Kelso Lawyers. We want to hear your story. Call (02) 4907 4200 or complete the online form before you accept payment from the National Redress Scheme.
Feature Image: Sydney Morning Herald