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Call For 'Pedophile Ring' Inquiry

A TASMANIAN lobby group for child sex abuse survivors has called for a state inquiry into claims a pedophile ring operated in Tasmania during the 1970s and 1980s.
The call came after former Anglican Archdeacon of Burnie, Louis Victor Daniels, 57, yesterday pleaded guilty to 13 counts of interfering with young boys between 1973 and 1993.
Daniels, now of Charnwood in Canberra, is expected to be sentenced later this week or early next week.
Steven Fisher, a spokesman for Tasmanian group Survivors Investigating Child Sex Abuse (SICSA), today said there was no doubt an organised pedophile ring operated in Tasmania in the 70s and 80s, involving members of the Anglican church and others.
He said the ring primarily operated in Tasmania and South Australia, but also extended to Queensland and Victoria.
The group today called for a state inquiry into the alleged pedophile ring, after failing in its demands for a royal commission.
Mr Fisher, who was abused as a teenager by convicted pedophile Garth Hawkins, said a state inquiry would result in more victims coming forward and achieving a sense of closure for the abuse they suffered.
"There is no doubt there are other victims out there," he said.
The Anglican church in Tasmania today said it supported the group's calls for a state inquiry.
Earlier, Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, the Right Reverend John Harrower, said he was "greatly saddened" by the effects of abuse on people's lives and stressed that the Anglican Church had launched its own inquiry into sexual abuse in 1998.
The church had been working hard ever since to repair the damage done by a small minority of priests, he said.
All paid church leaders were now checked under the Safe Ministry Program and any volunteers working with children were trained in abuse issues.
Victims of sexual abuse had also been offered compensation.
"We are not claiming that any of this can make up for the abuses suffered by victims, but it can help them now and also let them know that we will continue to be vigilant to ensure such abuses do not happen again," he said.

AAP (3-5-2005)

Tas Sex Abuse Inquiry 'Needed'

THE State Government needs to set up an inquiry into a pedophile ring as soon as possible and not leave it to the Federal Government, says a child sex abuse victims' spokesman.
Steve Fisher, of Survivors Investigating Child Sex Abuse, said there was strong evidence that an organised pedophile ring operated in Tasmania in the 1970s and 1980s and involved priests, doctors and even MPs.
He said that while it operated in Tasmania it also involved the abuse of boys in South Australia, Victoria and Queensland.
Attorney-General Judy Jackson said on Tuesday that the investigation of a pedophile ring operating across states was a matter for the Commonwealth.
Mr Fisher said: "It's a case of them handballing the issues to the Federal Government.
"It's time for them to stop and say they are going to do it. It's a cop out on the Government's behalf and putting off the inevitable."
He said the Government would need the power to subpoena people and extradite them to unravel the truth about the pedophile ring.
"The extent of child abuse in Tasmania would all be uncovered if the Tasmanian Government would stop being stubborn and admit there is a real problem in the community."
Tasmanian Children's Commissioner David Fanning has received permission to investigate four claims of abuse against former wards of the state during the 1990s.
Both the State Liberals and the Tasmanian Greens repeated their calls yesterday for a Commission of Inquiry into child abuse.

AAP (5-5-2005)
Damian McIntyre

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