Bill Ferris

Posted: October 30, 2012 by Serendipity in NSW, Queensland
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Sex crime list for Salvation Army

  • by: Padraic Murphy
  • From:  The Australian
  • October 11, 2008 12:00AM

THE Salvation Army has established an internal registry for sex-offenders after an officer who was dismissed from the NSW chapter for a string of sex crimes re-emerged in the charity’s Mackay branch in Queensland, rising to become the city’s face of the movement before befriending and raping a seven-year-old girl.

Bill Ferris, 75, was sentenced this week to 6 1/2 years for raping the girl whose family had gone to him for help.

Ferris was arrested on New Year’s Eve in 2006, the day after he chased the victim around while wearing only a shirt and exposing himself before raping her on a couch.

The girl told her mother that Ferris “was saying things that were not good or nice. He was trying to do things to me which only grown-ups can do”.

Outwardly Ferris was known as a kind and gentle man who had devoted his life to charity, stepping up his work after his wife died several years ago.

He was trusted in Mackay, a city in which he had grown up, and had spent nearly 40 years with the Salvos.

Faltering couples turned to him for help, he ran the men’s fellowship group every weekend and co-ordinated the Salvos’ emergency services, appearing regularly in local newspapers dressed in full uniform.

But Ferris had a history of sexual offences dating back 40 years which the Salvation Army’s internal vetting procedures failed to pick up.

He was convicted in NSW in 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1990 for sex offences, including exposure and the sexual assault of children that went back to the 1960s and 70s.

Those convictions saw him thrown out of the Salvos’ Maroubra branch in NSW and quit his job as a guard at Long Bay jail, but the charity’s then policy meant pedophiles convicted in one state could re-emerge in another, their personal files never crossing state lines.

Even in Mackay, there were concerns raised about Ferris in 2005, two years before he was arrested. At that stage he refused to apply for a blue card, which by then had become mandatory for people working with children, and local supervisors were concerned enough to ensure he did not work with children.

Mackay’s Salvation Army identity jailed for raping little girl

9th Oct 2008 8:05 AM

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