‘Help find the man who raped me’

Singer Debra Byrne, pictured in 1994, has urged witnesses to a sexual assault to come forward.
Singer Debra Byrne, pictured in 1994, has urged witnesses to a sexual assault to come forward.

“I WAS a very disturbed girl and was abused, I believe, because I was considered fair game.”

Australian actor and former queen of pop Debra Byrne has made a public plea for witnesses to come forward regarding an alleged sexual assault during filming for a Young Talent Time promotion.

In a determined Facebook post trying to track down members of the public who might have witnessed the attack, Byrne recounted being “digitally raped” in a swimming pool while filming a segment for the iconic variety show.

“After a day’s filming we the YTT and crew were swimming in a pool,” Byrne wrote.

“I don’t recall where the pool was but while I was in the pool, [alleged attacker’s name here] swam up to me and digitally raped me.”

The Facebook post from Debra Byrne.

Young Talent Time cast members in 1971: (L to R) Debra Byrne, Rod Kirkham, Johnny Young, Jamie Redfern, Jane Scali, Vikki Broughton and Philip Gould. Source: News Corp Australia

‘Help find the man who raped me’

Byrne has called on anyone who witnessed the filming of a Red Tulip Chocolates commercial in which Byrne and YTT host Johnny Young were the stars.

The commercial was a cross promotion with the Royal Easter Show.

“There were more than two people in the studio. If this jogs anyone’s memory and you are comfortable to speak with me about what took place in the studio please contact me.

“Blessings Debra Byrne x”.

 1988. TV host Johnny Young with singer Debra Byrne and her children Lauren and Arja.

1988. TV host Johnny Young with singer Debra Byrne and her children Lauren and Arja. Source: News Corp Australia

Byrne pictured with a young Hugh Jackman for the musical "Sunset Boulevard".

Byrne pictured with a young Hugh Jackman for the musical “Sunset Boulevard”. Source: News Corp Australia

But Mr Young’s daughter, Anna, has urged Ms Byrne to take the alleged incident off social media and report it to the authorities.

Speaking on behalf of her famous father, Ms Young said: “He would like her to go to the police, if she feels so strongly about it, rather than put it on Facebook.

“He feels if any woman has been wronged in any way — he’s very protective — go to the police, don’t put it on Facebook.

“We wish her all the best, if she does feel there is something that happened to her I agree with my dad, she really needs to go to the police.”

Daryl Somers appears on TV show Bandstand with Byrne in 1976.

Daryl Somers appears on TV show Bandstand with Byrne in 1976. Source: News Corp Australia

While its no secret Byrne’s relationship with Young was strained, entertainment reporter Peter Ford — who says he spoke with the entertainer last night — denied any suggestions he knew what was taking place.

“He just wants Debra to be happy,” Ford said during an interview with 3AW this morning.

“The suggestion with Deb often seems to be that Johnny Young knew what was going on and didn’t do anything. Johnny is adamant he didn’t know anything. He certainly wouldn’t have allowed it.”

Young aside, the 57-year-old revealed her isolation from the YTT cast in a 2011 interview with gay magazine SX in 2011.

“My welfare was not their main concern,” she said.

“No one wanted to talk to me about it or even give me a hug. No one thought I should be counselled. What I received was the opposite — I was yelled at by Johnny Young for forgetting my words.”

Byrne has lead a troubled life in front of and behind the camera. In her 2006 autobiography, Not Quite Ripe, she detailed years of sexual abuse by a family member along with countless suicide attempts.

“You become worthless in yourself,” Byrne told The Advertiser.

“If your [family member] teaches you that you are loved by sex, or that you are loved not by who you are but what you are prepared to give, then that’s what you continue to do with your life. That’s your programming.”

Blankety Blanks host Graham Kennedy with celebrity contestants, top L-R actor Noel Ferrier, singer Peggy Toppano, comedian "Ugly" Dave Gray, bottom L-R actor Carol Raye, actor Stuart Wagstaff & singer Debra Byrne.

Blankety Blanks host Graham Kennedy with celebrity contestants, top L-R actor Noel Ferrier, singer Peggy Toppano, comedian “Ugly” Dave Gray, bottom L-R actor Carol Raye, actor Stuart Wagstaff & singer Debra Byrne. Source: News Corp Australia

Byrne’s history on the set of YTT is plagued with scandal.

She had a sexual relationship with a 24-year-old crew member on the set of YTT when she was just 13. He was eventually charged with statutory rape.

She has also gone public with her struggles with alcohol, heroine and cocaine addiction, but is now a devout Christian.

Celebrating 50 years of television last night, Channel Ten ranked Young Talent Time as its tenth top show of all time.

The program was the launch pad of careers including the Minogue sisters and Tina Arena.

Ms Byrne has been contacted for comment.

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