An email was sent in March last year to army psychologist Major Paul Morgan, threatening, among other things, to break ”every bone in your homosexual body”.
”If the weather permits it I will cut your homosexual carcass into one hundred pieces to feed you to thee [sic] marine life in Botany Bay,” the email said, according to court documents.
Georgiou also set up a Facebook page which, using the army insignia as its profile picture, listed five serving members of the army who it claimed were gay, including Major Morgan. Those men had made a ”filthy lifestyle decision”, the page stated.
There are of course two sides to each argument, and the court heard that Mr Georgiou was suffering from PTS and not taking his strong anti-psychotic at the time of setting up the Facebook page.
Yesterday Local Court Magistrate Carolyn Barkell found that Georgiou had been affected by severe post traumatic stress and paranoid schizophrenia after seeing a fellow soldier fall to his death during a peacekeeping mission on the Solomon Islands.
The court heard that Georgiou, having complained to his commanders that the soldiers should have been wearing helmets when the accident occurred, then came to believe that they and his fellow soldiers were ”out to get him”.
These delusions continued when Georgiou was eventually treated for post traumatic stress. While in hospital he came to believe that he had been illegally sedated and then sexually assaulted by those charged with his care, including Major Morgan.
He later sought help from a psychiatrist who prescribed strong anti-psychotic medication, but Georgiou had sent the email before this occurred and was not taking his medication consistently when he set up the Facebook page.
I can only imagine what it is like to live your life after watching a fellow soldier killed, and so there is certainly compassion on my side as to his predicament – should that reasoning actually be true and not a fabricated excuse for the behaviour. That he should, in addition to his current medical treatments, receive counselling for his anti-gay views while working in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) seems to not be on the radar and is of great concern for all gay and lesbian officers currently serving in the ADF.
Major Morgan said earlier this year he would almost certainly be forced to leave the ADF as a result of the treatment he received.
”Right now, because it seems that so many of my colleagues conspired with Marcus Georgiou to start a gay-hate website to drive gays and lesbians from the army, and because so many watched until one person stood up … it may seem that there is a culture of gay hate in the army,” Major Morgan said.
That no violence eventuated from these threats is absolutely a relief, and if medication was to in fact correct this intent to murder by Mr Georgiou, what then begs further investigation and is of most concern is that the gay-hate page was joined by the soldier’s colleagues who, presumably, have not been subject to the same scrutiny. As Major Morgan suggests, there is a culture of gay hate in the ADF as those watched and said nothing, or indeed joined the Facebook page, were complicit in the marginalizing of not only Major Morgan, but the four other named ADF personnel.
Further, this does not take into account any other personnel that were likely marginalized or abused at other times, but not caught up in this specific case. A system-wide campaign on acceptable conduct should be held to ensure that any future incident is unlikely to occur ever again.
The ADF has a lot to answer for the conduct of their personnel and should be out in the media supporting the many gay and lesbian officers in their ranks, while encouraging current and potential recruits to treat all fellow colleagues with respect, acceptance and dignity.