Convicted sex offender cleared to run childcare business after court finds no current risk

 smh.com.au  9/17/2017 6:40:00 AM 

​A convicted sex offender who has faced allegations of domestic violence from two ex-partners and one of his children has been cleared to run a childcare business, after the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by the NSW Children's Guardian.

The man, whose name has been suppressed for legal reasons, failed to pass a working with children check after he was found to have committed several serious sexual offences as a 15-year-old boy.

During a two-month spree in 1982, he variously grabbed a 23-year-old woman's crotch, grabbed the crotch and breasts of a 29-year-old woman and exposed to her his penis and pulled up the T-shirt of a 20-year-old woman, grabbed her breast and invited her to perform fellatio.

He also approached a 15-year-old girl and asked her to sit on his penis and entered another woman's car without her consent, ignored her requests to get out and grabbed her breasts, pushing off her bikini top in the process.

In 1983 the Children's Court imposed upon him a good behaviour bond, and he went on to become a successful businessman.

But due to his historical offences the NSW Children's Guardian knocked back his application for clearance to work with children.

According to a Supreme Court judgment, he has not worked directly with children and did not plan to do so, but his lack of clearance posed logistical difficulties when it came to his operation of a business involving childcare centres.

He appealed to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal last year.

The tribunal heard that the man's subsequent record including a drink driving offence in 1988, a 1992 incident in which he entered a woman's bedroom and pulled down her nightdress, road rage and a 2002 episode at a hotel where he racially abused patrons, groped two policewomen and made sexually lewd remarks to an elderly woman after grabbing her bottom – though charges were not laid in the two latter incidents.

He was convicted for cocaine possession in 2003, had to pay for the damages after he urinated on the floor of a hotel in 2003, was charged over an altercation on a golf course – though the charges were later withdrawn – and fined for opening a childcare centre without a licence in 2004.

He also faced allegations of domestic violence by two former partners and reported to the Department of Community Services in 2015 after one of his teenage sons wrote a story about his dad swearing and hitting him.

A forensic psychiatrist retained by the children's guardian considered that the man posed a low-to-moderate risk of sexual or violent behaviour, but said he could not provide a definitive opinion because the man refused to have a psychiatric assessment.

However, the tribunal deemed that the relevant offences were committed when he was only 15 years old, and there was no evidence that his "boorish" behaviour posed a risk to the safety of children.

The children's guardian then appealed to the Supreme Court, which dismissed the matter on Wednesday.

Justice Richard Button found the tribunal accepted the man had behaved "boorishly, unattractively and anti-socially" but this did not mean he posed a risk to children and it had made no error of law.

"Since he was aged 15 years … there has not been any evidence of him committing an offence against a child, whether sexual or of any other kind," Justice Button found.

A spokeswoman from the Office of the Children's Guardian said there were no plans to appeal.

"While we're disappointed with the result, the Office of the Children's Guardian has taken this case as far as it can and accepts the decision of the Supreme Court," she said.

« Go back