The ACA transcript

What Matthew Johns and wife Trish told A Current Affair about the sex scandal last night.Tracey Grimshaw: Matthew and Trish, thank you for your time. I know it's difficult for you to be here and you'd probably rather be anywhere else. Trish, I have to say at the start that I am concerned for you and if this gets too difficult for you at any point, please just feel free to leave. Why are you here? Trish Johns: I'm here because I know the truth of what happened, Matthew told me that seven years ago when it all happened initially and I believed him then and we have worked through that over the years, and part of that was him being so blatantly honest with me about everything that happened that evening, and I just want to be here to support him. TG: Matthew what do you say is the truth of what happened? Matthew Johns: Well Tracey, everything isn't in the police report. It's difficult for me to make comments at this time, I've just seen the footage of the Four Corners program and I can see the fragile state that the woman is in, so I don't want to make . . . go into any intimate details that's going to cause her any more pain and embarrassment, and to be honest any more pain and embarrassment to my family. TG: Did it distress you to see her condition? MJ: Yes it did. I made some comments last Thursday night on the Footy Show that I wasn't aware of what she'd been through and I've got to say now that any trauma and embarrassment that she's gone through as a result of this incident, I'm extremely sorry for. I'm extremely sorry for . . . to my wife and my family as well, just the embarrassment and the pain it's caused them. It caused my wife enormous pain seven years ago, and it's caused her enormous pain and public embarrassment now seven years later. TG: You see, there would be people listening to you now saying how could you be surprised at her trauma and her embarrassment given that you were there on the night and you saw what she went through. MJ: Without trying to cause any more embarrassment to the girl, I was there on the night and I did see what happened and at no point did she object, at any stage, to what was going on. TG: What do you mean by that? MJ: Seven years ago when the incident went on, the woman was a willing participant in what went on and it's something that I regret and I think it's something that all parties including her, that she regrets as well, now. TG: Are you saying that she shares some of the blame for what happened on that night, is that your view? MJ: I've never blamed anyone else in this situation but myself. I never looked to blame anybody else. I take full responsibility for the predicament that I find myself in. TG: Because she says that you were the instigator, she says that you were there in the room the whole time, she says that she was virtually ignored, none of the players who were lining up at the end of the bed acknowledged her, spoke to her. MJ: That's totally untrue. TG: Do you say that she was the instigator? MJ: I would say that on the night when she came back to the room she was a willing participant in everything that occurred, and I feel great sorrow for the pain and regret she has felt in the aftermath of that, the subsequent pain, but again I have to say that she was a willing participant in what occurred. TG: And yet she went back to the room with two of you didn't she? MJ: Yes. TG: How could she in going back to the room with two of you have ended up being a willing participant in a queue of blokes at the foot of the bed having sex with her? MJ: Well, at the time when we went back I was totally unaware that other people were coming into the room. At the point that they did, I stepped away from it. In the statements that were made to the police it says that she encouraged players to come forward and then she actually said "someone come forward and have sex with me", at which one player said he would and she said "no no, anyone but you" and pointed to me again which I declined. TG: So are you saying that you became uncomfortable when the other men started filing into the room, the other players? MJ: After I declined, I stepped out of the room, but I stepped back in to make sure that everything was okay, that she was not under any distress and at no time was she under any distress. TG: You see Matthew, most right-thinking people would be listening to you right now saying how could you have looked at that scenario and seen anything that was OK in it. MJ: Morally, it's not OK. TG: She was 19 years old, she was naked, she was outnumbered, there was a very clear power imbalance in that room, wasn't there? MJ: Tracey, I was unaware that she was 19 at the time but again, she gave no indication that she did not want to be there. TG: Where are those other players who have regrets, why haven't they stepped up? Why are they allowing you to take all of the heat? You were not the only man in that room. MJ: I can't answer that. The only thing I'll say is that from the first day this occurred, I've been completely honest with the New Zealand police, I was completely honest with my wife and even when the ABC reporter rang me up, I was completely honest with her. TG: You see the problem is that the public have had enough of this sort of behaviour, people have had enough of it. This notion of group sex, this practice of bunning is unsavory, it's distasteful, people reject it and yet it seems to be so embraced by players. MJ: I can only speak for myself Tracey and that's seven years ago and everybody's got something in their life they regret and they'd love to rewind and take away, and that's mine. TG: Did you confess to Trish because the police had interviewed you or would you have told her otherwise? MJ: I confessed to Trish because I felt otherwise I was embarrassed, completely embarrassed about it. I had two sons and I felt enormous guilt. TG: Were you worried that she was going to find out some other way? MJ: There was probably a part of me that believed that she deserved to know and deserved to find out.TG: What did you say when he told you Trish? TJ: I was completely shocked, it was extremely out of character for Matt. I was horrified and disgusted and shocked that he would have even been involved in such a thing but he told me very specifically every last detail of his involvement in that actual incident and I believed him, and my inquisition went on probably for months and possibly years. Questions would come up again and again and that was part of our arrangement if we were going to continue with our marriage, that he had to be terribly honest with me because otherwise we could never continue with our marriage and lack of trust. TG: Was it just his infidelity that horrified you or was it the circumstances? TJ: It was the circumstances but probably primarily the infidelity and the greatest thing that I feel is that Matt's greatest . . . knowing all of the information that I do, is that his greatest crime is actually being unfaithful to me as his wife and I feel that it's only for me to judge him on that, and whether that's someone in football or everyday people or a businessman or someone working at Channel 9 or whatever, anyone committing adultery to their wife, that is between a husband and a wife. TG: Matt, do you still believe that your greatest crime is your infidelity to Trish or do you believe that you committed perhaps not a crime, but committed an act of abuse to that woman? MJ: I did not commit an act of abuse to that woman. I'm guilty of infidelity to my wife and guilty of absolute stupidity. TG: Did it occur to any of you that the girl on the bed was somebody's sister, somebody's daughter, a girl with hopes and dreams and aspirations of her own? MJ: At the time, no you don't think, it's fair to say we didn't think like that, no. TG: Is it about time that players started thinking like that? MJ: Tracey, this is not about . . . I'm not here to talk about other players or other players' morals or how they think, it's about the mistake I made getting involved in that situation. TG: You have a perfect opportunity right now to step up and send a message to other players about this culture. This is your opportunity Matt. MJ: Tracey, I would say to players, if it's a situation where . . . I'm just looking for the right words . . . if it's a situation where things occur which are dangerous and they're stupid and you make decisions that you most certainly will regret later, that at the time you give no thought to, but Tracey at the moment, as much as I love the game of rugby league and the people who play it, my thoughts and my energies are directed towards my family, all the pain I've caused them. TG: And what about to this girl? MJ: For the pain and the trauma that she's felt out of all this and the embarrassment, I'm truly sorry. It's caused a lot of pain and embarrassment to a lot of people. TG: Trish, how do you view this girl, this woman? TJ: It's a very very difficult question for me to answer clearly, I certainly wouldn't like it to be my daughter. TG: If you had that time again Matt, what would you do? MJ: For seven years I've thought about not walking into that room, and wished I hadn't. TG: If you had known that girl was 19, would you have taken part in it? MJ: No. I regret that. If I had my time again Tracey, I'd never taken part in it. TG: What effect has it had on you these past few days, both of you? TJ: Well primarily we took the children away, we have two young boys and I didn't want them subjected to any of this and then Matt joined us after his work commitments and it's pretty much been living hell I would imagine, that would be the best way of describing it. MJ: The toughest thing for me is just seeing the pain it's caused my wife and just facing my children, looking at my children and seeing the pain it's caused the woman as well . . . all those things, it's been hell. TG: Well, you've lost your career to speak of, you came awfully close to losing your marriage, what do you do now? MJ: Well, I've got to go away and make it up to my wife and make it up to my family, that's where my priorities lay. As far as my career at Channel 9, that's the furthest thing from my mind at the moment. TG: Does he have some rebuilding to do with you Trish? TJ: Not so much I don't think, we did the rebuilding over the past seven years, I think if anything, this recent event has actually just brought us closer together.

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