Posts Tagged ‘youth leader’

‘Loud fence’ honours victims as parole date nears for Park Orchards paedophile Barry Watson

February 25, 2016 12:20pm

The “loud fence” at Domeney Reserve, Park Orchards, pays tribute to the victims of paedophile Barry Watson.

ROWS of brightly coloured ribbons have been tied to a fence in a Park Orchards reserve to mark the horrors inflicted by paedophile Barry Watson, as his parole date nears.

The ribbons, a tribute to Watson’s victims, make-up what is known as a “loud fence” at Domeney Reserve, the exact site where the former Park Orchards youth leader molested young boys in the 1960s and ’70s.

The ribbons were tied to the fence by a woman in support of the victims, as part of the “loud fence” social media movement which encourages people to report abuse.

Watson, who was jailed in December 2013, will be eligible for parole in coming months.

The now 75-year-old abused boys aged between nine and 13 while he was a youth leader for the Church of England Boys Society (CEBS) in Park Orchards.

Court documents show Watson would often order boys to strip naked before molesting them.

Watson would often isolate boys at the society’s hall in Domeney Reserve or his own Park Orchards home before abusing them.

In several instances, Watson, who claimed he himself was sexually abused as a child, would fondle his victims’ genitalia and claim he was checking for diseases.

Watson also abused boys, sometimes in large groups at the same time, during CEBS camps in Warrandyte and Frankston and while driving through Olinda and Healesville for work.

During one incident, Watson, according to court documents, took photographs of a naked boy and told the victim he had friends who would want to look at the photos.

Watson’s victims are now middle-aged men. They will be allowed to address the Parole Board to either support or oppose his early release.

In impact statements to the Melbourne County Court, his victims reported multiple suicide attempts, drug and alcohol abuse, failed marriages and emotional scars.

One victim said he found it difficult to attend his daughter’s sporting events at Domeney Reserve where he was abused.

In December 2013, County Court Judge Rachelle Lewitan sentenced Watson to four years imprisonment with a non-parole period of two and a half years.

A spokesman for the Adult Parole Board said the question of Watson’s parole had not yet been determined.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard this month that a ring of paedophiles abused children throughout Australia during their time as adult leaders in the Church of England Boys Society.

However, the commission did not investigate this abuse in Victoria, where Watson was active.

If you have any more information about the case email


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Child sexual abuse victims angry over perpetrator’s jail term

  • Adam Cooper

Victims of a man who sexually assaulted 11 boys more than three decades ago when he was a community leader are angry at what they consider a light jail term.

Barry Francis Watson, 73, will serve a minimum of 2 1/2 years in prison for abusing boys in his care as young as seven when he was a leader in the Anglican Church’s youth group, CEBS, between 1969 and 1979.

Watson was found guilty in October of 12 charges of indecent assault on a boy aged under 16. He then pleaded guilty to another six charges.

On Thursday County Court Judge Rachelle Lewitan imposed a maximum jail term of four years but the sentence has upset some of Watson’s victims.

One called out to Watson as he was led from the dock, and outside court, he and others spoke of their disappointment to prosecutors.

Watson was trusted by the community to let boys stay at his home and at camps, or to ride with him in his delivery van when he worked for a bread company.

The court heard he took advantage of his victims by assaulting them while they were bathing, seated next to him in his van and at CEBS camps and activities.

At a camp he had a group of boys undress and stand in a circle. He then went around the group inappropriately touching each boy, the court was told.

Judge Lewitan said Watson’s victims had all spoken of the impact his offending had on them.

She said many were distrusting of others and had relationship problems. One man said in a victim impact statement that he had had trouble bathing his children and changing their nappies.

One man spoke of problems with alcohol, drugs and anger, and another said he had immense psychological problems, including attempted suicide and a fear of bread aisles in supermarkets because they reminded him of Watson.

Judge Lewitan said Watson had abused the trust of people who respected him and considered him a mentor to young boys he was supposed to be caring for.

“The facts in these cases are extremely serious and disturbing and involve a gross breach of trust of 11 children – who were at the time between seven and 13 years of age – and their parents,” she said.

She said Watson had never shown remorse for his offending and some of his victims had been subjected to “vigorous cross-examination” during his trial.

Watson was found not guilty of one charge and three others were discharged.

The court heard that Watson had been sexually abused at an Anglican boarding school in Dubbo.

In 1987 he pleaded guilty to similar charges in Melbourne Magistrates Court but the jail term was wholly suspended.

Watson, a father and grandfather, showed no emotion when his sentence was handed down. He has already served 53 days in custody.



Claims church failed to act on ‘pervert’

Article from: The Advertiser


December 23, 2009 12:01am

CHURCH elders allowed a paedophile pastor and youth leader to ply his evil trade by failing to act on repeated warnings over his “inappropriate behaviour” with young boys, court documents claim.

Trevor John Russell is serving a nine-year sentence for molesting boys while a pastor at Christian City Church Marion – which has denied that it owes the victims any compensation.

Three men, now in their early 40s, have launched a civil claim against the church over the abuse they suffered at the hands of Russell at church-run youth camps in the Flinders Ranges in the late 1970s and early 1980s when they were aged 12 and 13.

In their District Court statement of claim, the men say three female church members had complained to senior church staff that Russell was “a pervert” who had behaved inappropriately towards young boys.

The victims all claim to have suffered ongoing psychological and psychiatric problems because of their childhood abuse, including post traumatic stress disorder.

The church denies it was responsible or liable for the actions of Russell.

The civil case has been adjourned for a further hearing in March next year.,22606,21500921-2682,00.html

Immunity for sex offender crimes


April 04, 2007 02:15am

A PEDOPHILE jailed for nine years yesterday was effectively granted immunity from prosecution over crimes against five other victims when they were taken into account in his sentencing.

Supreme Court Justice Margaret Nyland jailed Trevor John Russell for nine years, with a four-year non-parole period.

The sentence accounted for not only the 18 offences with which he was charged, but also crimes against five other boys to which Russell had confessed.

Commissioner for Victims’ Rights Michael O’Connell said the sentence imposed on the former church worker – who abused 10 boys – highlighted the urgent need for legal change.

It effectively granted him immunity from further prosecution, even though only one of the five victims consented. The others were undecided or could not be contacted by prosecutors.

“I consider there must be a point at which some finality is reached,” Justice Nyland said. Mr O’Connell said the court had “pitted one victim’s rights against another”.

“Some victims want their day in court and others don’t, but all victims have a right to be heard on how they have been affected,” he said.

“(But those) victims who are angered by the court’s decision to ensure timely justice for Russell have no recourse.

“The current law is clear that the validity of the sentence is not affected by denying them their right to be heard in court.”

Russell, 57, pleaded guilty to abusing five boys – and confessed to offending against five more – between 1971 and 1982.

In sentencing, Justice Nyland detailed his history of childhood abuse, repressed homosexuality and guilt. Doctors felt he had “undergone a fundamental psychological transformation” since release from jail – for other sex crimes – 15 years ago, resulting in “complete rehabilitation”.

Mr O’Connell said there should have been time allowed to find the other victims and take statements from them.

“I am mindful that Russell’s other victims have had to wait for justice,” he said.

“Perhaps if they had been asked, they might have agreed to delay sentence so that others like them could tell the court how they have suffered at the hands of this sex offender.”


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Youth worker gave sex victim money

Jamie Berry
February 5, 2007

A Christian youth worker who had sex with a 13-year-old girl gave his victim money so that she would not go to the police.

The County Court heard that Mark McGorum gave the girl $40 a week for four months and an extra $150 so she could visit her grandmother.

Prosecutor Mark Gibson said McGorum, who was a youth leader at a church in Hoppers Crossing, had also bought the girl cigarettes, taken her to the movies and paid for her and her brother to attend church activities.

“The accused stated that he was happy to give her this money so that the incidents were not reported to the police,” Mr Gibson said. “The complainant’s parents had trusted him with their children … he agreed that he had broken that trust.”

McGorum, 35, of Werribee, pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual penetration of a child under 16 between January 2002 and February 2003.

Mr Gibson said the charges were “sanitised”, with the victim, now 18, having alleged there were “many, many, many” other occurrences. The court heard she refused to testify about the further alleged incidents.

Forensic psychologist Patrick Newton said McGorum had poor insight, showed little empathy for the victim and was at moderate risk of reoffending.

Defence lawyer Leighton Gwynn said his client was remorseful.

Mr Gibson said these types of cases were on the rise. “There needs to be … a clear message to the community, in particular people who are occupying positions of care, supervision or authority, that the courts won’t tolerate this behaviour.”

Judge Jennifer Coate granted bail to McGorum until sentencing this month. He will be registered as a sex offender and must report for life.

Church leader rapist jailed for 21 years

June 29, 2011 – 11:04AM

A Melbourne youth church leader who raped a 14-year-old girl, poured petrol on her and set her alight has been jailed for 21 years.

Michael Tuano Hermogenes, 25, plied the girl with alcohol before choking her with one of her stockings, raping her, taking photos of her while she was naked and unconscious, then setting her and her house alight to hide his crimes.

She suffered permanent injuries including burns to half her body, amputation of her right toes and spent almost a year in hospital.

Hermogenes pleaded guilty to charges including arson, attempted murder and rape over the attack at the girl’s home in Melbourne’s west in May 2010.

He must serve 16 years before he is eligible for parole.

Hermogenes sat in the dock with his head bowed, hands clasped in a praying position.

He showed little other reaction as the sentence was handed down.

Justice Paul Coghlan said Hermogenes’ crimes involved a breach of trust and was satisfied he took alcohol to the girl’s home so he could take sexual advantage of her.

The judge described his photographing of his victim as “bizarre and disgusting”.

Justice Coghlan said the girl spent almost all of the 15th year of her life in hospital as a result of her horrific injuries.

“She will suffer from them for the rest of her life … and will need daily care,” he said.

The judge accepted Hermogenes was remorseful, but was guarded about his rehabilitation prospects.

He said a “very stern” sentence was necessary to deter others from similar crimes.

The sentence takes into account more than a year Hermogenes has served in pre-sentence custody.

Man blames ‘sexual demons’ for raping and setting fire to girl, 14

  • Norrie Ross
  • From: Herald Sun
  • June 20, 2011 2:24PM

A YOUTH leader who tried to strangle a 14-year-old girl with her school stockings, raped her and then set fire to her as she lay unconscious told police he was a “sex porn demon”, a judge heard today.

Prosecutor Andrew Grant said Michael Tuano Hermogenes, 25, met his victim through a church group and decided to ply her with alcohol so that he could have sexual contact with her.

Miraculously the victim survived the attack but spent a year in hospital, had her right foot partially amputated and has suffered massive injuries that will remain with her for life.

After he was arrested by police Hermogenes admitted he took a number of bottles of mixed drinks to the girl’s house and said that “self preservation” was his motive for torching her at her home.

“He stated he had been branded a sex porn demon,” Mr Grant said.

“When asked why he sexually assaulted the complainant he responded  ‘I can’t give a reason. Sexual demons. I was possessed and in a drunken state’.”

Mr Grant said the girl called Hermogenes “Kuya Myke”, which means “older brother” in Filipino, and on the day she was attacked she wagged school after they communicated in a MSN chat room.

The prosecutor told the Supreme Court that Hermogenes took alcohol to the girl’s home in Melbourne’s western suburbs and after giving her a quantity of alcohol he took photographs of her removing her school uniform.

Hermogenes took photographs of the teenager on his iPhone and then attempted to strangle her, leaving her naked on a bed.

Mr Grant said Hermogenes then raped her, dragged her naked to the bathroom and placed her face down on the floor.

He then drove to a nearby BP service station took a can from his vehicle and filled it with petrol and purchased matches.

“He returned to the complainant’s home. He intended to set fire to her to kill her and to also set fire to the house,” Mr Grant said.

“He piled clothing on top of the complainant, who remained unconscious and naked, and poured (the petrol) over her . He also poured petrol around the upstairs of her home.”

Mr Grant said he ignited the victim and the house using matches but some of the fuel has spilled on his pants and they caught fire.

Hermogenes ran out of the back of the house and rolled around in the grass to extinguish the flames and then drove off.

The prosecutor said a number of men passing saw him leave and noticed smoke and firemen were able to arrive in time to save the teenager, who had full thickness burns to more than 50 per cent of her body.

Hermogenes, of Hoppers Crossing, pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder, rape, indecent assault, arson and two counts of theft.

Mr Grant said prior to the incident where he tried to kill the teenager Hermogenes took advantage of another drunk and sleeping woman after a 21st birthday party, photographing her nearly naked on his iPhone and touching and kissing her body.

Defence lawyer Peter Chadwick SC, said his client committed a terrible crime but he should not get a sentence that was crushing.

He said Hermogenes had no prior convictions and came from a good family but he was “a young man with issues”.

Justice Paul Coghlan said it was a very serious example of an attempted murder.

The judge said Hermogenes was a youth leader, his victim was only 14 and he plied her with alcohol and he took advantage of her while she was naked and unconscious.

“If this poor young woman died this would be a life imprisonment case,” he said.

“That’s the level of seriousness.”

Justice Coghlan said he will sentence Hermogenes on June 29.

Man pleads guilty to horrific rape of girl, 14

  • Norrie Ross
  • From: Herald Sun
  • May 02, 2011 2:59PM

A MAN today pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old girl he met through Facebook, dousing her with petrol and setting her on fire.

Appearing by video link to the Supreme Court, Michael Hermogenes, 25, admitted he tried to murder the girl, who survived the attack despite horrific burns.

A previous court hearing was told Hermogenes took food and alcohol to the victim’s Caroline Springs home in June last year when she was home alone, and they watched movies together and took photographs of each other.

He forced himself on the girl and raped her, beat her unconscious and left her lying naked on the bathroom floor.

Hermogenes drove to a nearby BP petrol station, where he was caught on CCTV buying petrol and matches.

He returned to the girl’s home, turned on the gas stove and poured petrol over her and around the house.

When he lit the fuel he severely burned his own legs and then fled in his car.

Detectives accessed the teenager’s Facebook account and used it to track down Hermogenes, who was found to have 500 Facebook friends.

At the time of the attack he had been sleeping rough in his car.

Hermogenes pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder, rape, arson and two counts of theft.

He also pleaded guilty to an indecent assault on another victim in October 2009.

Justice Paul Coghlan remanded him in custody until June 20 for a pre-sentence plea hearing.

Teenager improves

June 8, 2010

A TEENAGER who was raped and set alight in her Caroline Springs home last week has improved to a serious condition. The girl, 14, had been in a critical condition since the horrific attack last Monday.

Michael Hermogenes, 24, faces charges including attempted murder and rape after allegedly confessing last week.

Hermogenes, who is reportedly known to the victim’s family, allegedly watched a movie with the girl before forcing himself on her, splashing her with petrol and setting her on fire.

A Royal Children’s Hospital spokeswoman last night said the girl’s condition had improved and she remained stable.

Man poured petrol over girl, 14, court told

  • From: AAP
  • June 01, 2010 7:54PM

A MELBOURNE man poured petrol on an unconscious 14-year-old schoolgirl and turned on a gas stove in an attempt to kill her after raping her, a court has heard.

A hospital bedside court session today heard Michael Tuano Hermogenes told police he couldn’t remember what happened before he tried to kill the girl and destroy evidence.

The court heard Mr Hermogenes took alcohol and food to the home of the girl, who had left school at about 8.30am (AEST) yesterday after receiving a text message to meet a friend.

According to a summary of the hearing provided by police, Mr Hermogenes, 24, told investigators that the pair watched a movie together and took photos of each other.

But he said he had a gap in his memory until he found himself naked and on top of the girl on her bed.

He left the Caroline Springs house in Melbourne’s west to buy petrol and returned to the property, poured petrol over her and around the home and then turned on the gas.

Mr Hermogenes, from Tarneit, has been charged with attempted murder, rape, sexual penetration of a child under 16, aggravated burglary, criminal damage by fire, reckless conduct endangering life and intentionally and recklessly causing serious injury.

The teenager is in a critical condition in an induced coma with burns to 70 to 80 per cent of her body.

Firefighters dragged the girl from the burning bathroom after police noted smoke coming from the home about 2.05pm on Monday.

Mr Hermogenes is in The Alfred hospital in Melbourne after suffering burns to his legs in the incident, while $90,000 in damage was done to the house.

Neighbours noticed a dark green sedan speeding away from the house at the time of the fire.

After speaking to the victim’s family and looking at her Facebook account, police identified Mr Hermogenes as a suspect.

They found him in a car matching the description near Hoppers Crossing train station.

Police have extreme concerns that he is an unacceptable risk and a danger to the public.

Mr Hermogenes was remanded to appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court for a committal hearing on August 27.


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Church abuse victim receives $45,000

Geesche Jacobsen
December 31, 2007

A WOMAN has been awarded compensation for repeated sexual assault by a former pastoral assistant and youth leader at a Baptist church more than 20 years ago.

Louise Audet, 41, was awarded $45,000 for the abuse that started in 1982 when Cheryl Groth, 51, was her year 10 teacher at Picton High School.

The abuse continued for about four years when Groth introduced her to Baptist churches where Groth had become involved in music and youth groups, and later as a pastoral assistant.

She first complained to the church 20 years ago, but believes it failed to act. When she was later told the case could not proceed in the criminal courts, Ms Audet took civil action against Groth, which concluded last month.

The District Court found Groth sexually assaulted Ms Audet and attempted to digitally penetrate her while she was allegedly falling in and out of consciousness.

Ms Audet, who came from a dysfunctional family and had been sexually abused by family members, confided in her teacher and told the court Groth told her she was “special” and encouraged her to call her “mum”.

Judge Anne Quirk found Ms Audet was “a vulnerable, lonely and … abused young person”.

“Given the knowledge which [Groth] possessed of [Ms Audet’s] background, of her physical and psychological abuse, [she] should have been on notice that [Ms Audet] was one of a class of persons particularly vulnerable to psychiatric damage in the event of further abuse … ”

In about 1987 Ms Audet complained to a young pastor and meetings were convened with church elders, but no apparent action was taken by the Baptist Union until 1999, when its Sexual Abuse Complaints Committee considered several complaints against Groth.

By that stage Groth worked as a missionary in Indonesia.

The committee recommended Groth write letters to those she had harmed, receive counselling and “that appropriate safeguards … be established regarding her future ministry”.

“The ultimate aims of the recommendations are, by God’s grace, to assist in the healing process of those who have been hurt and aggrieved and to restore Cheryl to fruitful ministry,” the letter said.

Groth wrote to Ms Audet: “I have and am experiencing deep sorrow because I abused you … I am sorry that the care and support of our friendship in the past crossed the boundaries into sin.”

Ms Audet said yesterday she felt justice had not been done. While her fight was not about money – and she does not expect Groth will ever pay the compensation awarded by the court – she felt the amount was a slap in the face.


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Ex-church leader jailed over youth camp abuse

Posted March 12, 2009 11:36:00
Updated March 12, 2009 15:30:00

A former church leader has been jailed for 18 years for sexually abusing Adelaide boys in the 1970s and 80s.

District Court Judge Gordon Barrett said Andrew William Dawson-Ryan, 60, of Cumberland Park had abused his position of trust over 16 years.

He had been a leader of the Church of England Boys Society at suburban Plympton.

The court heard he assaulted four boys, mostly on youth camps, with one offence believed to have happened interstate.

The boys were given alcohol and cigarettes and Dawson-Ryan kept in touch with their families.

Judge Barrett said the offences had had a profound effect on the victims, one of whom had worried for years that he may have contracted AIDS or a venereal disease.

The judge said Dawson-Ryan had shown little remorse for his actions.

A non-parole term of 10 years has been set.

Dawson-Ryan has filed an appeal against his conviction.

‘No mercy’ call for pedophile Andrew William Dawson-Ryan

  • The Advertiser
  • February 23, 2009 11:30PM

A REMORSELESS Anglican Church pedophile who systematically abused boys “hundreds of times” must be shown no mercy, say prosecutors.

Prosecutors today told the District Court there was no reason to extend leniency to former Church of England Boys Society youth leader Andrew William Dawson-Ryan.

The 60-year-old’s counsel were hard-pressed to disagree – an hour-long hearing, set down for defence to make submissions, lasted just 20 minutes.

Dawson-Ryan, of Cumberland Park, was last year convicted by a jury of 12 counts of indecent assault, five counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, gross indecency and procuring an act of gross indecency.

Between 1972 and 1988, he abused a number of boys entrusted into his care as a leader with the Church of England Boys Society.

He plied them with cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana and pornography, and made friends with their families.

Today Mark Norman, prosecuting, said the “sheer scope and scale” of the offending was staggering.

“These are just examples of hundreds of offences he committed, for which he cannot possibly be sentenced,” he said.

“The timing of the abuse was systematic, with a profound and prolonged impact upon a generation of families.

“The best that can be said, in mitigation, is that there was no violence… leniency is proscribed.”

Lindy Powell, QC, for Dawson-Ryan, asked the court consider her client’s age and lack of offending since 1998 when imposing sentence.

Judge Gordon Barrett remanded Dawson-Ryan in custody for sentencing next month.

Anyone abused by Dawson-Ryan is asked to contact the Anglican Church on 8366 6589.


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