Saturday, July 14, 2007

Questionable Judgement

Judgement, originally uploaded by ddbsweasel.

ALP administration in Queensland resulted in a sex offender lecturing to school students. Incredibly, a thank you from the school administration to the rapist was given. Now the Queensland government is threatening Catholic School funding over the issue.

Wouldn't it be cheaper, easier and safer to correctly monitor the behaviour of the sex offender?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rapist gives speech to pupils
By Amanda Watt, Leanne Edmistone and Greg Stolz
THE Queensland Government has threatened to withdraw $240,000 from a Catholic program after a church school allowed a notorious rapist to address students.

Catholic boys' school Padua College invited notorious rapist Robert John Fardon to address a group of students and later wrote to him thanking him for his "powerful message".

The bombshell revelation was made by authorities yesterday at an emergency courtroom hearing aimed at getting Fardon, 58, back behind bars. But Fardon was released back into the community despite an application by Attorney-General Kerry Shine for him to be kept in jail.

Outraged Corrective Services officials had no prior knowledge of Fardon's May 4 school visit and it is believed they were only informed in early June – when a formal censure was immediately issued to Fardon for the breach.

Government officials then wrote to Queensland Catholic Education, the Catholic Prison Ministry and Centrecare to express their alarm and warn them commercial arrangements with the Government were under review.

The incident threatens a $240,000 three-year government contract for the Catholic Prison Ministry to provide re-integration support services for offenders with special needs in southeast Queensland.

Fardon – released into the community by a court late last year on a strict supervision order that banned him from initiating contact with children under 16 – was arrested on Wednesday night after he was found in a car with another violent sex offender, Trevor Lewis Toms, 42.

They were found after an electronic monitoring device worn by Toms alerted authorities to an alleged curfew breach by Toms.

Fardon has spent almost 30 years in Queensland jails for serious sex offences against girls and women and was the first prisoner to be detained indefinitely under the state's controversial Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act introduced in 2003.

Toms has spent time in jail for three violent rapes in north Queensland in which he followed the female victims home, watched them undress and retire to bed, before he broke in and raped them at knifepoint.

Yesterday's revelations sparked a political stoush, with the Opposition demanding former convicts on supervision orders be fitted with sophisticated GPS trackers rather than devices that simply alerted authorities when a prisoner left home.

"He should be wearing a GPS tracking device for the rest of his life and prohibited from being anywhere near kids," Queensland Opposition police spokesman Rob Messenger said.

But Police Minister Judy Spence said the GPS system was not foolproof, and often did not work in high-rise buildings, trains and cars.

Ms Spence said the Government was considering changing laws to allow the Government to order sex offenders to wear tracking devices without needing permission from a judge.

Ms Spence said Fardon was not monitored because he was released before the system came into place.

Fardon and Toms were being monitored by authorities under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act, which allows courts to keep offenders in jail past their release date or place them under a community-based supervision order.

Justice Jim Douglas yesterday agreed to detain Toms until July 23. But he ruled the circumstances surrounding the school visit and other breaches were not reasonable grounds to suggest Fardon was a serious danger.

He also said it was relevant that Fardon's past offences had not involved boys.

A hearing over Fardon and Toms' alleged breaches will be held at a later date.

The identity of the Brisbane school was not revealed in court yesterday but The Courier-Mail confirmed it was Padua College.

Fardon's lawyer, Dan O'Gorman, SC, told the court the school visit was at the invitation of a Year 11 religious education teacher.

Justice Douglas told the court the teacher expressed appreciation for the "powerful message" Fardon had delivered.

In a statement released last night, Padua College's acting rector Brett Harvey said Fardon's visit was part of an ongoing program organised with the Catholic Prisons Group.

He said Fardon was never alone with students, that the school was unaware of the nature of Fardon's crimes, and that the crimes were not discussed with students. Mr Harvey said the school would review procedures for checking on visitors.

A Gold Coast woman who was brutally raped by Fardon expressed fury yesterday that he had been caught socialising with another sex attacker.

Sharon Tomlinson – who agreed to be identified – was 12 when she was raped by Fardon and said it was "an absolute joke" he was on the loose.

"I'm absolutely furious," Ms Tomlinson said.

"It's frightening, absolutely frightening, to think that these two brutal rapists could be together in the community."

Fardon raped Ms Tomlinson at a Redcliffe hotel in 1978 and clubbed her sister, 15, with a rifle butt, splitting open her head.

In 1988, less than a month after being released early from his 13-year sentence, Fardon raped and sodomised a woman in north Queensland. He was jailed for another 14 years.

Ms Tomlinson said she had "no doubt" Fardon would strike again.

Additional reporting AAP