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Pedophile 'Sells Toys At School Fetes'

THE Victorian Government would tighten legislation on sex offenders following reports a convicted pedophile was allowed to sell children toys at school fetes, Police Minister Andre Haermeyer said today.
Melbourne radio station 3AW today reported the man was recognised by patrons and ejected from a creche fete at Essendon, in Melbourne's north-west on Sunday and was asked to leave a school fete at Heathmont, in the city's east, on another occasion.
But police were powerless to act because the events were billed as community functions and were not held on school grounds, it was reported.
Creche manager Janine told 3AW she asked the man to leave and he left without incident.
She said she felt "quite sick" when fete organisers confirmed through police the man was a pedophile.
"And we asked them whether they could ask him to leave and they said they couldn't," Janine said.
"And we said: 'Oh, you can't even do it on our behalf?' and they said: 'No'. And then we approached him."
Mr Haermeyer said today he was disturbed by the allegations about the man.
"I find the concept quite disturbing and horrific and it is inappropriate," he said.
"I am worried about pedophiles putting themselves in situations where they have the opportunity to interfere with children.
"They are a very dangerous, very repulsive and very recidivist element of our community and we need to keep a very, very close tab on what they do, wherever they do it, all the time."
Legislation, including laws relating to adults working around children, were under review and would be progressively tightened.
"I think we need to look at anything that protects our children from these sorts of people and we need to have a very broad-based, open community discussion about it," he said.
Mr Haermeyer said that while the Government must ensure pedophiles were controlled it must also ensure their civil liberties were not restricted.

Daily Telegraph (20-10-2004)
Jamie Duncan

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Police Hands Are Tied

POLICE are powerless to charge a convicted pedophile selling toys to children at a creche fete.
On Saturday police asked the man to leave the Essendon child care centre fundraiser but they were unable to charge him.
"It appears that no offence has been committed," Sergeant David Spencer said.
"He had a lawful excuse for being there. He was selling toys."
Under the Crimes Act it is an offence for a sex offender to loiter in areas frequented by children without a legitimate excuse.
Police Minister Andre Haermeyer said he was disturbed at the case and would look at tightening the law.
"I am worried about pedophiles putting themselves in situations where they have the opportunity to interfere with children," Mr Haermeyer said.
"They are a very dangerous, very repulsive and very recidivist element of our community.
"We need to keep a very, very close lab on what they do, wherever they do it, all the time."
Mr Haermeyer said laws for adults working around children were under review and would be tightened progressively.

AAP (22-10-2004)
Ben Packham


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