Sarah Monahan: My life after the abuse

Sarah Monahan. Photo: WHO

Her ordeal on the set of Australian sitcom Hey Dad..! still haunts former child actress Sarah Monahan.

Chosen at age 8 to play Jenny, the youngest member of the Kelly family in the TV favourite, Sarah Monahan was famous, earning money and making friends with some of Australia’s biggest TV stars.

“During that first season I was happy,” Monahan tells WHO. “Life was good.”

But by the next season, which was filmed in 1987, her life had become a living nightmare at the hands of the show's star, Robert Hughes, who began inappropriately touching her, pressing his body against hers, and exposing himself.

When Monahan went public in 2010 with the abuse she suffered, more women surfaced with claims of childhood abuse against Hughes, who was subsequently convicted in 2014 on 10 child-sex charges against four girls and sentenced to 10 years’ jail.

“It just snowballed and became huge,” says Monahan, 38.

Now living in Florida with her American husband, Matt Morris, Monahan says that her ordeal “is still difficult for me to come to terms with.”

Sarah Monahan. Photo: WHO

Writing her memoir, Allegedly (New Holland; $29.99), helped.

Says Monahan: “It was really good therapy for me to be able to get it out and say everything I wanted to.”

For an exclusive extract from Allegedly, pick up a copy of WHO, on sale now.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting