Sydney boys home pedophile ring arrest

Sydney boys home pedophile ring arrest


Police have arrested a 67-year-old Jindalee man for molesting boys in western Sydney in the 1970s.

Police have arrested a 67-year-old Jindalee man for molesting boys in western Sydney in the 1970s.

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The first alleged member of a pedophile ring accused of terrorising vulnerable children at a western Sydney school, has been brought before the courts.

Police say they are circling dozens of other offenders after victims came forward with harrowing tales of genital mutilation and sadistic punishments at the government-run Daruk Training School.

Queensland man Brien Peckover, 67, allegedly molested boys at the now-defunct facility in Berkshire Park in the 1970s but AAP understands he was not a member of staff.

The school was tasked with taking care of young offenders and troubled teens but detectives found 80 of the boys - mostly aged 10 to 14 - endured "significant sexual abuse".

Victims from the school told media and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse they were beaten, placed in isolation for days and routinely subjected to sexual abuse by Daruk staff.

One teenage boy was reportedly left permanently disfigured after a staff member sedated and attempted to circumcise him.

Police strike force Eckersley was launched to investigate the school following the submissions submitted to the royal commission.

Its detectives are urging others who lived at Daruk from 1965 to 1985 to come forward.

"We need to reach out to these victims," Detective Superintendent Brett McFadden told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

"The number that have come forward have described their accounts as what can only be considered horrific experiences."

Peckover was arrested in Brisbane in late February and extradited to NSW.

He faced Penrith Local Court on March 2 on 19 historical charges including assault and buggery on boys aged 12 and 13 in the late 1970s.

Further arrests are "imminent", police say.

So far, about 25 staff members or people linked to the school have been identified as persons of interest, although some of them have since died.

Victims of the school told the Nine Network on Sunday that Daruk's leader, Alasdair Webster, ignored the boys' pleas for help.

Mr Webster's lawyer Manny Conditsis told AAP on Monday his client "strenuously denies all allegations of wrongdoing".

"There is much evidence to unfold, including statements from one of the alleged victims of Daruk exculpating Mr Webster from any wrongdoing," Mr Conditsis said.

"Mr Webster asks for patience for people to wait to hear the evidence and not to prejudge him."

Mr Webster, who has not been charged by police and is not accused of any sexual abuse, went on to a successful career in federal politics. He received an Order of Australia - in part for his service to the community through educational organisations.

Supt McFadden said police were aware of the accusations made against Mr Webster, 84, and they'd "like to hear" from him.

AAP understands Mr Webster will contact police.

Detectives believe the already lengthy list of victims and accused could grow significantly while the crimes could have "transcended" the school as the victims and offenders moved through other facilities in the care system.

Peckover was granted bail when he appeared in Penrith court but Director of Public Prosecutions will challenge that ruling in a Sydney court on Wednesday.

Australian Associated Press

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