Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Church volunteer bus driver charged over sex assaults

Church volunteer bus driver charged over sex assaults
From: AAP July 27, 2010 5:03PM
A MAN who was a volunteer bus driver for a Sydney church youth group has been charged with sexually molesting and assaulting four young children over three decades.

The man, now aged 69, was arrested at Bilpin, near Windsor in Sydney's northwest, at 8.15am (AEST) today, police said.

He was charged with 54 historical counts of sexual assault, acts of indecency and indecent assault that allegedly took place between 1978 and 1992.

During that time, the father of two was a volunteer bus driver for the Metropolitan Baptist Church, which at the time was in Chatswood.

He allegedly assaulted the children while transporting them to church functions and also befriended and lured them to his home, where some of the sexual assaults took place.

The victims include two males and two females aged between 10 and 16 at the time of the alleged offences.

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Police were first informed of the allegations by one of the females, leading them to speak to others who had been in the man's care.

"There's a more than likelihood that there are other persons out there that may be able to assist us either as witnesses or victims in this matter," North Shore local area command crime manager Detective Inspector Peter Yeomans told reporters.

It is alleged the man indecently touched or sexually molested the children as they sat on his lap while he was driving.

Det Insp Yeomans said the man allegedly took children from the youth group on frequent bus trips to beaches, public swimming pools and cinemas.

Some of the alleged assaults took place on the church grounds, but police have ruled out any involvement by church staff.

"We're saying that the church had no knowledge of this at the time," Det Insp Yeomans said.

Several incidents of abuse allegedly occurred at the man's then home at Lane Cove.

The man was bailed under strict conditions to report daily to police and not approach children under the age of 18.

Det Insp Yeomans said due to the ages of the man's own children he was not allowed to approach them either.

Police are appealing for anyone with any information on the matters to come forward.

"I would stress that any and all information will be treated with the strictest of confidence," Det Insp Yeomans said.

The man is due to appear at Windsor Local Court on August 18.

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