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Tribunal Allows Sex Offenders to Mix With Children

CONVICTED child-sex criminals have been been given the all-clear to return to Victorian classrooms and childcare posts despite authorities becoming aware of their offences.
Seven men refused Working with Children permits and expelled from their jobs by the State Government Justice Department under a new pedophile crackdown revealing past offences have had the bans lifted by a tribunal.
They include a primary school crossing supervisor and a bus driver for sick children.
But all were handed permits to return to work after appealing to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
The Sunday Herald Sun has discovered a further 11 serious criminals who were uncovered under the new check system gained immediate approvals from the Justice Department to continue working with children.
All 11 fall into the Government's most serious non-child sex offence crime category -- for murderers, child traffickers, child stalkers, drug dealers and kidnappers.
But the exact natures of their crimes is not known because the State Government has refused to disclose them.
And the Sunday Herald Sun is unable to give their names or occupations because the Justice Department has withheld such details.
Child protection advocates have expressed horror that the criminals the new checks were designed to weed out are being allowed back.
The State Government said the crimes were sufficiently old that the offenders deserved a second chance.
The back-to-work sex offenders given approval by VCAT include:
A MAN convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl when he was 19, allowed to return to foster care work.
A SCHOOL integration aide convicted of two counts of carnal knowledge and one of abduction after having sex with a 15-year-old when he was 19.
A BUS driver with an ill children's charity, convicted of indecently assaulting a 16-year-old girl outside a wedding when he was 22.
A PRIMARY school crossing supervisor jailed for having sex with a 16-year-old girl when he was 21.
A FOSTER carer jailed for having sex with a 14-year-old girl five times when he was 19.
In each case VCAT determined the men were of little risk to the children with whom they now worked.
Anti-pedophile group Bravehearts said the system was failing young victims of sex predators.
"We know child-sex offences are not just a one-off behaviour," founder Hetty Johnston said.
Thirty-one sex offenders and serious criminals have been banned from working with children since Victoria introduced the checks in April 2006.

Sunday Herald Sun (27-1-2008)
Liam Houlihan

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