Wundarra support worker accused of raping child in his care

UPDATE: THE Minister for Family and Community Services Brad Hazzard has confirmed an "urgent investigation" will be launched into Wundarra Services.

The investigation will focus on claims the taxpayer-funded agency has failed to conduct background checks on many of its employees who work with children living in out of home care.

A spokesman for the minister said the issue would be tabled at a meeting in Coffs Harbour tomorrow with representatives from Wundarra, NSW Police, and the Department of Family and Community Services.

The investigation will be undertaken by the NSW Office of the Children's Guardian.

 

1PM: A SUPPORT worker employed at Wundarra Services has been charged with the rape of a 13-year-old child in his care.

A Coffs Harbour man has been charged with four criminal offences including aggravated sexual assault of a victim under his authority, and indecent assault.

The 42-year-old has pleaded not guilty to the charges that were allegedly committed on November 2 last year at a Wundarra Services home in Sandy Beach.

In police facts presented to the court, the accused allegedly raped the 13-year-old after telling her to "come into an office".

Later that night, the accused told the victim to have a shower and "meet him downstairs so he could talk with her".

The facts claim the employee unlocked the victim's bedroom door later that night and said "if she told anyone (about the incident) he would be charged, go to jail and lose (custody of) his seven children".

The Child Abuse Squad launched an investigation after the events were reported to a principal at the victim's school.

Officers seized evidence from the care home before arresting the accused on November 4.

The charges of sexual intercourse without consent person under the age of 16, and sexual assault of a victim under authority of offender carry a maximum penalty of 12 years in prison.

He is due to reappear in court on April 12 for a full brief of evidence to be presented to the court.

The case comes as statistics obtained by the Coffs Coast Advocate revealed residents at the organisation were involved in 503 criminal incidents in 2015.

Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser calls for an investigation into Wundarra Services during Tuesday's Legislative Assembly House sitting in NSW Parliament.
Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser calls for an investigation into Wundarra Services during Tuesday's Legislative Assembly House sitting in NSW Parliament.

The statistics were raised by Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser in NSW Parliament today, who called for Wundarra's funding to be cut and "a full ministerial investigation to be conducted".

Mr Fraser said he has received evidence that a 14-year-old boy who was residing in a home operated by Wundarra allegedly raped a seven-year-old girl at a toilet block in Moonee Beach last year.

Other evidence raised by Mr Fraser included a 14-year-old resident who lost his eye due to injuries caused in a fight after he ran away from a home.

Mr Fraser said a 14-year-old girl was also "receiving no counselling by Wundarra Services" after giving birth to a child in Sydney last month that was taken away from her.

He claimed two Wundarra employees were members of the Lone Wolf motorcycle gang and were not qualified to provide care to children.

Mr Fraser also questioned why the NSW Office of the Children's Guardian (OCG) renewed the licence for the service in December.

Wundarra Services has been contacted for comment.



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