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Predators Ruin Week

SCHOOLIES week was being marred by "sexual predators" looking for young girls affected by alcohol and drugs police said last night.
Officers are urging school leavers at Victor Harbor to be vigilant after two sexual assaults on the weekend.
Older men at the event are commonly referred to by Year 12 students as "toolies"- are being blamed for a variety of Schoolie Week problems.
Acting Superintendent Graham Lough, officer in charge of South Coast Police, warned girls at the festival to stay in groups and keep in regular contact with their parents.
"We have to be realistic that a number of young people and young men in particular would be going down there to seek out some form of sexual activity," Supt Lough said.
"It has shown again this year- as has happened in the past- that a majority of people that have been caught in trouble with the police have been non-schoolies- mainly older people".
He said students needed to be vigilant because it was not possible for police to be everywhere- despite increased numbers of officers in the area.
"We would ask that young girls especially remain in groups- they don't go off in isolated groups of two's or three's, make sure that their friends know where they are and also keep in touch with your parents at all times," Supt Lough said.
The Sexual Crimes Investigation Branch and Victor Harbour detectives are investigating the two assaults- on a 16yr old girl in Warland Reserve at 12:30am on Saturday, and on a 17yr old girl on the foreshore at 11:30pm on Sunday.
Supt Lough said Police did not have a description of the first offender, however, the second offender- who led the victim to the beach after talking to her outside a hotel- was in his 20's, of medium build, 165cm tall, and was wearing a blue hooded windcheater. The man fled after being disturbed by other people on a section of beach near the Granite Island causeway.
Supt Lough said it was possible their had been other attacks that police had not yet been contacted about.
"Parents should be concerned, but not alarmed", he said.
This years Schoolies festival has been marred by the sexual assaults and the overdose of a 20yr old man on the designer drug red Mitsubishi on Saturday night.
Victor Harbour mayor Scott Schubert warned predators and those looking to treat the city as a "playground" to stay away.
"The Schoolies are going to come anyway- we cannot stop them- so we've made a conscious effort to manage them," Mr Schubert said.
"The majority do conduct themselves in an appopriate way. We're aware that the problems generally are caused not by Schoolies as such but by the hangers- on... the predators."
Victor Harbour Hospital's Director of Nursing, Jill Cooper, said yesterday that there had been seven people treated for alcohol intoxication.

Adelaide Advertiser (23-11-2004)
Christopher Salter/ Jill Pengelley

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