Plea To Protect Kids
A VEIL of secrecy protecting the state's worst
child-sex offenders was condemned yesterday by
victims and a leading child welfare group.
A court-imposed ban on publication of the names or
whereabouts of pedophiles released under new legislation
designed to protect children also prompted calls for a
change to the law.
The name of the second pedophile released on an extended
supervision order under the new Act was suppressed this
week despite evidence he was incurable and highly likely
Two people -- one of the man's most recent victims, and
the head of a leading child abuse counselling and advocacy
group -- said yesterday the decision failed to take proper
account of community protection.
Both called on the Government to change the law to enable
courts to extend the sentences of child-sex offenders
considered highly likely to re-offend, rather than extend
The Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act, which became
law on July 1, allows a judge to place an offender on an
extended supervision order for up to 15 years.
Australian Childhood Foundation chief executive, Dr Joe
Tucci, said lack of transparency and poor decision-making
on placing offenders was eroding public confidence.
"The community is right to feel a lack of confidence in
the system," he said.
He said there should be more consultation -- not less -- with
communities where released offenders were to be located.
"I'd like GPs, childcare centres, schools, health services,
police and probation officers to all know there's a sex offender
moving into the area.
"Unless they prepare local residents and tell them that someone is
going to be moving in, and unless they're fully transparent, you're
not going to be able to put these people anywhere".
Dr Tucci said the poor choice of accommodation for notorious pedophile
Brian Jones, better known as Mr Baldy, had emphasised the problems
created by secrecy.
"Keeping it secret is also counter-productive to the sex offender,
because once people do find out where they are there is a huge reaction,
which does cause the sort of stress the authorities are concerned
about," he said.
County Court Chief Judge Michael Rozenes said on Wednesday he banned
publication of the second offender's name because of evidence that
increased stress caused by publicity could increase the chances of
A woman who confronted the man after he was last released from jail
told the Herald Sun she believed people could not protect themselves
if they did not know who pedophiles were or where they were.
She found the man peeping through her windows at night three times
in the week after he was released in 2002.
"All the protection seems to be directed at him, not the
community," she said yesterday.
"If they (pedophiles) can't be accountable for themselves,
the Government and the legislators have to be accountable
"They're giving these people the benefit of the doubt at the
cost of a child's life -- or many children."
She said then the man had been placed in a
Housing Ministry flat in her street, close to
a school, swimming pool, tennis courts and skate
park in a small country town.
"What really made me angry was that he could look
straight out the front window at the tennis courts
where the junior girls were playing in their little
"If you'd wanted to pick a worse place to put someone
like that you couldn't have," she said.
The man, now 62, had 21 scrapbooks of newspaper
clippings depicting young children when he was
A court was told he had prior convictions for sex
offences dating back to the 1970s and had been in
and out of jail for 30 years.
This week's hearing was told the man confessed he
still fantasised about children despite
treatment to reduce arousal.
At least a dozen of the most high-risk
child-sex offenders are expected to be the
subject of applications for
extended supervision orders.
Herald Sun (19-8-2005)