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Australia Investigates Whether Paedophiles Operated Within The Salvation Army

posted 30 Jan 2014, 03:43 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 30 Jan 2014, 03:44 ]

Australia's Royal Commission investigates into institutional child sexual abuse and hears allegations that a paedophile ring operated within the Salvation Army in Sydney.

 SYDNEYAUSTRALIA (JANUARY 30, 2014)(AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION) -  Australia's Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse on Thursday (January 30) heard allegations that a paedophile ring operated within the Salvation Armyin Sydney.

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Children at the Salvation Army's Bexley Boys Home in Sydney were "rented out" at the weekend to strangers who abused them, the commission was told.

Police investigations focused on the activities of Salvation Army Captain Lawrence Wilson, who died in 2008, reportedly arranged, co-ordinated and permitted the abuse. The inquiry was told Wilson would often subject the boys to medical inspections which was allegedly an opportunity to sexually abuse them.

"I felt uncomfortable when he started to fondle my genitals and penis. I jumped back in surprise and Wilson discontinued and said 'that's all,'" one witness, a former resident at the home known only as E.T., told the inquiry.

Former New South Wales Police Detective Inspector, Rick Cunningham, investigated the allegations in the 1990s but the inquiry was told inquiries either hit a dead end or were not pursued, local media reported.

Cunningham told the inquiry he did not ask Wilson if he ran a paedophile network or who was responsible for renting boys out for sex at the weekend.

"It's not necessarily good practice to go fishing if you like for victims," Cunningham said.

Wilson has been described by counsel assisting the commission Simeon Beckett as the "most serious offender" in the Salvation Army's Eastern Territory. Beckett read the testimony of one witness too distressed to appear at the inquiry.

"One day you are a boy then the next you are a shell walking around," he said.

Wilson was charged with multiple offences including buggery, common assault and indecent assault but was ultimately acquitted.

The commission was told the Salvation Army has paid more than A$1.2 million ($1.05 million) in compensation to his victims to date