The former wife of dance teacher Grant Davies fought back tears as she told a royal commission about the night she discovered her husband of more than a decade was a paedophile.
The woman, given the pseudonym BZB, gave evidence that she was at home with the couple’s young daughter in April 2013 when she checked Davies’ computer.
She found messages he sent to a student, then aged about 13, and photos the student sent to him.
“The content of the messages was sexually explicit,” she said.
“There were messages in which Grant was saying ‘Delete the messages so your mum doesn’t see’. It seemed to me that Grant was grooming [the student]. I also found various photos of [the student] wearing a g-string.”
BZB printed out the material and contacted Davies’ sister and business partner in the RG Dance school, Rebecca Davies.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard BZB and Ms Davies reported the matter to police, against the wishes of other family members.
“[Grant’s parents] didn’t necessarily feel like it was something we needed to go to the police about,” she said.
Davies was arrested and charged with 63 child sex offences in May 2013, pleading guilty to a string of charges in September last year. He is in custody awaiting sentencing in May.
BZB told the commission Davies was violent towards her during their marriage and was the subject of two apprehended violence orders but, before her discovery of the material on his computer, she did not believe he would sexually abuse children.
“Even though I knew he was emotionally and physically abusing me, I never once through that Grant was capable of harming a child,” she said.
“He convinced me that he was a loving father, that he genuinely cared for his students and that he could be relied upon to have these children’s best interests at heart.”
She accused police and the Department of Family and Community Services of failing to properly address allegations about Davies which first surfaced in 2007 after parents complained he sent sexually explicit messages to teenage students.
“I believe that the authorities who had knowledge of both his domestic violence and the full nature of the allegations laid against him in 2007 did not do enough to protect those around him,” she said.
“I believe that the system failed us by not informing us of the danger he posed.”
Representatives from NSW Police and the Department of Family and Community Services are due to give evidence at the hearing into performing arts schools later this week.
BZB, a primary school teacher who used to perform comedy routines with Davies, said he would belittle her if she questioned his behaviour with students.
“I ended up feeling like I was the crazy one,” she said. “I ended up feeling like I was being silly.”
BZB divorced Davies in the middle of last year.
Rebecca Davies told the commission she could have done more to protect children at the school.
“I failed to do the right thing in seeing [Davies’ behaviour] as a red flag of paedophilia,” she said.
The inquiry before Justice Jennifer Coate continues.
For help or information call Lifeline 13 11 14; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 or the Royal Commission 1800 099 340.
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