Allan Keith Huggins - Photo6

http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/allan-keith-huggins-had-a-dodgy-cv-and-child-sex-conviction-but-how-did-he-get-away-with-it-for-so-long/story-fnhocxo3-1227219865761

Allan Keith Huggins had a dodgy CV and child sex conviction, but how did he get away with it for so long?

  • KAITLYN OFFER Court Reporter
  • PerthNow
  • February 15, 2015 12:00AM

HE HAD a child sex conviction and false tertiary education records, but that didn’t stop Allan Keith Huggins from joining the state’s mental health academic elite.

The 68-year-old was this week found guilty of 16 of 35 charges stemming from his time running the State Government’s Warminda school-to-work transition program in East Victoria Park in 1990 and 1991.

The Sunday Times has confirmed at least one qualification on Huggins’ CV is false and that he came to WA after losing a New South Wales university job over an affair with a 19-year-old male student.

This blot on his record, the dodgy CV and a subsequent conviction for indecently dealing with a 15-year-old boy didn’t hold Huggins back

He went on to become, in his own words, “one of the leading academics and advocates in the field of men’s health studies and men’s issues in Australia”, even getting appointed to a Federal Government advisory body.

EDUCATION

Huggins was born in England in 1947.

According to an online profile for his Men’s Gender Health practice in the mid-2000s, Huggins “holds an Advanced Diploma in Adolescent Development and Counselling from London University, a Masters Degree in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology from Manchester University and a Certificate in Teaching from the University of New England.”

The University of London has told The Sunday Times it has no record of a student named Allan Keith Huggins, Allan Huggins or Keith Huggins ever attending and receiving such a diploma.

Requests for confirmation of whether Huggins attended Manchester University were declined by a spokesman: “Due to UK data protection laws we are unable to confirm or deny whether someone is currently, or has ever been, a student at the University.”

The University of New England in Armidale, NSW, did not respond to questions.

NEW SOUTH WALES

Huggins moved from the UK to Australia, settling in NSW.

During the 1970s he worked as a director of the Pallister Young People’s Program at Greenwich Hospital on Sydney’s leafy North Shore.

There, he came into contact with teenager Anthony Nolan.

Mr Nolan was 15 in 1978 when he joined the program. The Catholic high school student had been labelled “developmentally delayed”, but then surprised his teachers by a very high score in an IQ test.

It was a time in his life that Mr Nolan has since described as confusing. He had gone from being a kid with learning difficulties to suddenly being labelled highly intelligent.

He would later be diagnosed as having ADHD, dyslexia and Asperger’s.

During his first counselling session with Huggins, the teenager lay on the floor and did relaxation exercises.

“He did inspect my genitalia,” Mr Nolan told Huggins’ trial in Perth.

He was told the inspection was for “deformities”. These inspections happened on a couple of occasions, Mr Nolan told the jury.

Huggins also told the teenager to masturbate to “use up energy” and control his hyperactivity.

Mr Nolan has also recalled how “it was always a running joke among the students at Pallister that the sign ‘therapist’ on Mr Huggins’ office door could be broken down to ‘the rapist’.”

Mr Nolan left Pallister House in 1979. That same year Huggins moved to northern NSW where he became the college master for the University of New England’s Earle Page residential college.

He also ran his own private clinic as well as working as a counsellor for O’Connor Catholic School and The Armidale School.

Huggins lost his university post in August 1988 after becoming sexually involved with a residential student.

Huggins, then 41, took the 19-year-old to Huggins’ family’s farmhouse where they drank alcohol and became intimate.

It is believed there may also be at least one underage counselling client who could have been a victim of abuse by Huggins about this time and NSW police have issued an arrest warrant for Huggins for charges of alleged child sex abuse.

A GOVERNMENT JOB AND A CONVICTION

Huggins, his then wife and three daughters moved to WA. He initially worked for the Parkerville Children’s Home and went on to set up his own private practice, the Perth Adolescent Service. In 1990, he was appointed to run Warminda for the Department of Community Services.

Warminda was a converted home in East Victoria Park that ran programs for troubled boys. These boys were often wards of the state, living in DCS hostels, and in and out of trouble with police. Some of them would land in the hands of other paedophiles. They were kids whom the system had all but given up on and Huggins was in charge of them.

In 1991, however, Huggins would be sacked from this job over child sex abuse.

On April 21, 1991, Huggins checked into a motel in Albany, 400km south of Perth, with a 15-year-old boy from Warminda on the pretext of finding him work on a fishing boat.

Huggins offered the boy a massage before starting to try to masturbate him. The teen ran out of the motel and flagged down a police car.

During the subsequent court case, Huggins told psychologists who assessed him that he had been attracted to adolescent boys for several years. He even told them that he had assaulted boys in his care “six to seven times” before.

In Albany District Court in August 1991, Huggins pleaded guilty to indecently dealing with the boy and was put on probation.

That same year, another Warminda victim, who was 13, and his aunt made a complaint to the WA Child Abuse Squad. The teen was interviewed by police, but nothing happened.

THE PROFESSOR

Two years later, he would start on his path to academic prominence in men’s mental health. Curtin University hired Huggins in 1993 to set up the Men’s Health and Teaching Research Unit in its School of Public Health.

He would later boast it was “the first men’s health teaching and research unit in an Australian university”.

Curtin would not comment to The Sunday Times on Huggins’ time at the university, other than to confirm he once worked there.

In 1995, Huggins was appointed to the Keating Government’s Men’s National Health Policy Development Committee by then Health Minister Carmen Lawrence.

The federal Department of Health said any reference to Huggins’ appointment would be in old departmental files.

“We could go back into the archives but I suspect they wouldn’t tell us anything because if the Department had known of the conviction he would not have been appointed,” a spokeswoman said. “Today, where the Department of Health was aware of anything in the background of an appointee to an advisory committee that was dubious, we would not make such an appointment.”

In 1996, Huggins set up the MensOwn Counselling Clinic out of a rented space at Hollywood Hospital, and over the next few years he set up a similar clinic in the Philippines.

By the end of the decade, Huggins was being named an Adjunct and Associate Professor visiting international universities and giving keynote speeches on mental health

There are at least three academic papers where he is an author or co-author, published in 1994, 1996 and 1998.

His profile continued to grow and he was hired by Edith Cowan University to set up the International Office for Men’s Health and Gender Studies.

An ECU spokesman said this week: “I’ve got no additional information on Mr Huggins other than to confirm he worked at ECU between 2000 and 2001.”

When he left ECU, he became director of another private practice, the Australia AsiaPacific Institute, and he continued to travel to Manila to run mental health workshops.

Then in 2009, Huggins was hired as a policy advocate for the WA Association for Mental Health (WAAMH).

He described himself then as “one of the leading academics and advocates in the field of men’s health studies and men’s issues in Australia”.

A WAAMH spokeswoman said Huggins was employed between September 14, 2009, and November 12, 2010. To get the job, he was required to show experience, but did not need a specific academic qualification.

She said Huggins gave them a police clearance, which did not show the 1991 child sex conviction from Albany.

By the time he joined the WAAMH, Huggins had already been deregistered from the Australian Counselling Association.

PAST CATCHES UP

Anthony Nolan, the victim from the 1970s, had defied his abuse, rebuilt his life (working as a government intelligence analyst), and eventually became a public face of institutional child sex abuse.

In early 2008, with his wife, he was running a national campaign to encourage people to report sexual abuse, when he discovered that Huggins was still working as a counsellor in WA and in the Philippines.

Mr Nolan decided to lodge a complaint with the Australian Counselling Association.

He recounted the abuse from all those years ago in the Pallister program in Sydney. [Pallister House now acknowledges its abusive history and on the homepage of its website asks for those with such allegations to come forward.]

Subsequently, Huggins wrote an apology to Mr Nolan via the ACA in June 2008.

In the letter, Huggins said while he could not recollect Mr Nolan or the incident, “it is entirely possible that these allegations have substance”.

The ACA told The Sunday Times: “Allan Huggins was a registered ACA member up until February 2, 2009, as he was deregistered due to a series of complaints made against him.”

Also in 2009, the former student from Warminda, who with his aunt had complained to the WA Child Abuse Squad, put in a redress application for sexual abuse suffered at the hands of Huggins.

But it was then Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s announcement, three years later, of a royal commission into “vile and evil” child sexual abuse that signalled the beginning of the end for Huggins.

Anthony Nolan decided to contact the commission and provided all his documentation.

A few days before he was due to give evidence in early 2013, Mr Nolan was contacted by the WA Child Abuse Squad.

“Mr Huggins had been reported to the royal commission and WA Police by other persons. When they executed a search warrant they found my letter of complaint (to ACA),” Mr Nolan recalled.

So it was that Huggins was finally charged in 2013 over the assaults at Warminda more than 20 years ago. By that stage, investigators feared the extent of Huggins’ crimes could be so large that a national hotline was established to help find victims.

THE TRIAL

On January 27, Huggins went on trial in the Perth District Court on 49 charges of molesting seven teens, aged 13 to 16.

The jury heard from the troubled boys, who had now become troubled men. Many were on disability pensions, most had at least one mental illness.

They told the trial that Huggins would start by massaging them and then try to masturbate or penetrate them.

One boy said he was told by Huggins his trouble would “go away” if he gave the older man oral sex.

Huggins, who pleaded not guilty, said all of the allegations were made up – that they never happened.

He admitted to the abuse of Mr Nolan in Sydney and the other boy in 1991 in Albany, but said they were the only time he acted out his fantasies.

He blamed those assaults on him struggling to come to terms with the reality that he was a gay man and on his own abuse at the hands of teenage boys when he was aged between seven and 12.

But Huggins’ own diaries caught him out. He had kept all of his diaries for “a biographical memoir”, he told the jury.

In his diaries, he named students and his meetings with them. There was even a reference of “special time” written against two boys who were not a part of the trial.

Huggins even mentioned being confronted with “allegations” by a woman.

That woman, the aunt who went to the police, said she confronted Huggins when her nephew came to her distressed after an assault.

“He replied to me, ‘I always have boys accusing me of the same thing’,” she told the court.

Finally, on Friday afternoon, after three weeks of evidence and five-and-a-half hours of deliberation, a jury found Huggins guilty of abusing the boys.

He will be sentenced in June.

‘DECEITFUL MONSTER’ CLAIMS VINDICATED

A WOMAN who tried to alert police about child sex predator Allan Keith Huggins 25 years ago says she has finally been vindicated after a jury found him guilty of abusing vulnerable teenagers while in charge of a government-run program.

The 68-year-old had been on trial in the District Court and, on Friday, was found guilty of 16 charges of molesting seven teenage boys while working for the Department of Community Services’ Warminda program in 1990 and 1991. Mr Huggins also faces dozens of new abuse allegations in NSW.

In 1991 the woman, a close family friend considered an aunty of one of the abused WA boys, went to police after the distressed 13-year-old victim came to her home screaming about being digitally penetrated by Huggins in his office.

She told police and confronted Huggins about it. Police records showed officers interviewed the boy, but nothing happened after that.

The retired registered nurse said the victims who testified had shown courage and described Huggins as an “evil, deceitful monster” who hid behind his academic status to dodge complaints of abuse.

But at least one of those qualifications was made up.

In profiles for his own clinics and university positions in WA, Huggins claimed to have an Advanced Diploma in Adolescent Development and Counselling from London University.

The institution told The Sunday Times it has no record of him.

Even a 1991 conviction for indecently assaulting a 15-year-old boy in Albany, which ended his employment with DoCS, did not stop him from being employed by Curtin University to set up the Men’s Health and Teaching Research Unit two years later.

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Comments
  1. robbie says:

    thank you for sharing this story. only by sharing can we end the horror of this.

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