Bali Hotel Child Abuse Claim
A FATHER who says his toddler daughter was sexually assaulted at a
creche in a five-star Bali hotel has accused the federal Government of
ignoring his plight.
The Melbourne girl, 3, was found to have a sexually transmitted disease
soon after her family returned from a two-week holiday at the Sheraton
resort at Nusa Dua in January 2001.
The father said the incubation period coincided with her time in the
creche at the Sheraton Nusa Indah Resort on Bali's south coast.
The hotel's Little Star Club for Kids is promoted in brochures as
Asia's biggest children's play centre.
The resort will be re-branded as the Westin Resort next month.
The family is suing the managers of the resort, Sheraton Overseas Management
Corporation, in the Victorian Supreme Court for failing to protect the little girl.
The corporation, which has denied responsibility, told the Herald Sun the matter
was before a court and declined to comment.
The father twice wrote of his concerns to Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer.
In the first letter, which went unanswered, he wrote: "During (our child's) time in the
creche there were other Australian children around her age in there with her.
"We believe that the Sheraton has a duty of care to notify the parents of these children
and get them medically checked.
"The AFP (Australian Federal Police) have been investigating the case and through their
liaison officer in Jakarta have been coming up against brick walls with the Indonesian authorities.
"I have spoken to our Foreign Affairs department, though not a lot of light has been
shed on the matter.
"Mr Downer, we need your help urgently in this matter."
In April, the parents were told by the AFP that Indonesian police had closed the
case after reporting that the Sheraton creche workers had tested negative .
"There are too many unanswered questions and I need your assistance
in helping us find out the truth," the father wrote in a second letter.
"This case needs to be reopened by the Indonesians.
"I can't accept a little girl can have this done to her and no one be responsible.
We are living this every day with our daughter, whose next batch of HIV tests are due . . . ."
Later, the Department of Foreign Affairs director of consular operations, Keith
Gardner, visited the family at their Melbourne home.
The toddler's mother told the Herald Sun Mr Gardner came in and said:
"We're really sorry. Here's some brochures about travelling safely with children."
She said she felt Mr Gardner was discouraging them from pursuing legal action
and seeking publicity.
"He then left. He was here all of 10 minutes and left us with a couple of brochures," she said.
A DFAT spokesman yesterday said the Government took the case seriously. He said the
Australian Consul General in Bali had spoken to the hotel management, and Australia's
ambassador to Indonesia had raised the matter with the Commissioner of Police in Jakarta.
He said the AFP had liaised with Indonesian police and advised the family that it would
take substantial further evidence to reopen the case.
He said Mr Gardner had spent 40 minutes with the family.
Herald and Weekly Times (14-11-2003)