-  # Steven Larkins
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STEVEN ANDREW LARKINS
46 yrs old (2012)
19-9-2013 - Larkins is currently serving 22-month jail sentence for forging documents to overturn the medium risk
assessment and also for possessing child pornography..In 2012 he admitted sexually abusing two young boys in 1992
and 1997 and given a three-year good behaviour bond.
Released from jail in April 2014.
Steven Andrew Larkins - Paedophile - Former Stockton Scout Leader..
offences include producing and possessing child pornography..
In 2012 he admitted sexually abusing two young boys in 1992
and 1997 and was given a 3 year good behaviour bond.
News - Paedophile Steven Larkins had a position of power, royal commission hears - Read More Below.
Paedophile Steven Larkins free after 15 months
The subject of the child abuse royal commission’s first case study, former Scout leader and convicted paedophile Steven
Larkins has walked free from jail after serving just 15 months for indecently assaulting two boys.
Larkins, who was the chief executive officer of the Hunter Aboriginal Children’s Services when he was first arrested for
child sex and pornography charges, will now only have to abide by a handful of conditions to see out his final seven months’ parole.
The former Long Bay Jail inmate walked out of the Malabar complex’s doors yesterday.
His release was automatic, and not a decision by the State Parole Authority, because he had received a jail term of less
than three years.
A Corrective Services spokesman said the conditions included that he not be in the company of a person under 16 unsupervised,
he not access pornography and that he attend psychological counselling including a sex offenders program.
Larkins will also have to be of good behaviour, not commit any offences and reside at an approved address,
which could be back in the Hunter.
His release comes less than a week after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual
Abuse made 27 findings in relation to his offences.
In its first case study to be released, the royal commission looked at how Larkins managed to operate
unchecked for almost 15 years, first as a Scout leader and then as the head of Hunter Aboriginal Children’s Services.
He was jailed in 2012 for the indecent assault of two boys as well as possession of child pornography.
Larkins was also found to have forged documents so he could remain in his job.
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Paedophile Steven Larkins' 'puppet' in tears
They were two proud Aboriginal women who had each seen a different side of paedophile Steven Larkins.
Jacqualine Henderson and Karen Barwick hugged and comforted each other in emotional scenes outside the
royal commission into child sex abuse yesterday after they gave their evidence.
Ms Henderson broke down in the witness box as she said Larkins had used her as a "goddam puppet".
She was both his second cousin and chair of the management committee of the Hunter Aboriginal Child
Services which employed Larkins as manager from 2000 despite persistent rumours that he had indecently
assaulted Scouts while he was a Scout leader.
"I take offence to what Steven Larkins has done to me and my community," Ms Henderson said. "He has used
me like a goddam puppet."
It was Ms Barwick, special projects manager at HACS, who made the decision to report Larkins
to police last year after she was shown child pornography files on a thumb drive belonging to
him which was found in an agency car.
Ms Barwick, who spent 15 years at the Department of Community Services before she joined HACS in 2007,
said she was appalled when she learned Larkins had relatives on the management committee
because it meant they could be manipulated.
"As an Aboriginal woman from communities where you see it happen continuously ... it creates a power." she said.
Paedophile Steven Larkins had a position of power, royal commission hears
Paedophile Steven Larkins had six children in his court-appointed care when he was arrested last year for
possessing child pornography.
One of them, a 17-year-old, was even living with Larkins, the head of the Hunter Aboriginal Children's
Services, and was being "groomed" by him, the royal commission into child sex abuse was told yesterday.
Chief executive of Community Services, formerly known as DOCS, Maree Walk, admitted that the department
had made mistakes in dealing with Larkins.
He first came to their attention in 1997 over claims he indecently assaulted an 11-year-old scout when
he was a Scout Leader. Ms Walk said the department reported it to police and made sure the boy was not at any current risk.
But when Larkins, 47, applied in 2003 for a working with children check, it was not routine to go back through their files
in which the case had been recorded under the name of the victim, not the alleged perpetrator.
Initially they assessed him as a medium risk and Ms Walk, who joined the department in late 2011, said
it had been wrong to deal directly with him over the assessment and not with the management committee who
oversaw the organisation.
Larkins is currently serving 22-month jail sentence for forging documents to overturn the medium risk
assessment and also for possessing child pornography.
He was put on a good behaviour bond last year after admitting the 1997 indecent assault of the scout and
another 12-year-old boy.
After his arrest last year, the six young people who had been placed in the care of Larkins by the
Children's Court had all been spoken to and their "safety assured", Ms Walk said.
The commission has heard how HACS, now in voluntary liquidation, had been a struggling agency.
A former HACS case worker, Ian Eggins, said that he had witnessed Larkins "grooming" the 17-year-old
as they shared activities like 10-pin bowling but when he raised one particular issue with his direct boss,
he was told there was not enough evidence against Larkins to merit making a "significant harm report."
The chair of the HACS management committee, Karen Elphick, said she wished she had never accepted Larkins'
invitation to take the position in 2009.
Ms Elphick said Larkins had insisted an extraordinary management committee meeting be held away from the
HACS offices because he did not want staff to know he was going to be the foster carer for the 17-year-old.
"We tried to talk him out of the decision," Ms Elphick said.
"We told him that we didn't think it was a very good idea because ... he was the CEO and he shouldn't be
doing it. He said he had spoken to someone at the department and it was a done deal."
The hearing, sitting in Sydney, continues.
The Daily Telegraph (19-9-2013)
Steven Larkins forged papers to keep job with children, royal commission told
A combination of bureaucratic bungling and document forging allowed a suspected paedophile Scout leader to continue
working with children after leaving the Scouts movement in disgrace, the royal commission on child sexual abuse has heard.
The commission is investigating the case of former Stockton Scouts leader Steven Larkins, who indecently assaulted two
young Scouts in the early 1990s but remained part of the organisation for much of the next decade. He was convicted
over these and other offences in 2011.
In 2000, after leaving the Scouts, he took up a role with the Hunter Aboriginal Children's Services (HACS), reaching a
management position with court-ordered responsibility for up to 19 children, which he maintained until 2011.
The commission heard on Wednesday that three years after taking up his position with HACS in 2000, Larkins applied to
the Department of Community Services for a working with children check, which would have given him official permission
to have close contact with children.
DOCS officers assessed him as a medium-level risk, although this was based on incorrect police records suggesting he
had been charged with indecent assault, rather than being investigated for this offence.
This assessment was then accidentally sent to Larkins himself and was not given to anyone on the HACS board.
The NSW Ombudsman later found this was "a very significant shortcoming in practice".
Having viewed his own assessment, Larkins immediately applied for a review, which the Office of the Commissioner for
Young People conducted.
Present Commissioner for Young People Kerryn Boland told the hearing that in 2003 there were no formal rules at the
time dictating how such reviews should be conducted.
As a result, officers from her office simply spoke to the "highly articulate" Larkins directly, allowing him a
significant and inappropriate degree of influence over the review process.
He told them he was not in fact working closely with young people, providing them with a false statutory declaration
and a forged letter from a supervisor to back up this claim.
The officers accepted these false documents – which appear not to have been checked – and determined that Larkins
did not need a working with children check.
They then withdrew the medium risk assessment, meaning that Larkins effectively had a clean record, something Ms
Boland said was contrary to policy at the time and could not explain.
"It seems to be an anomaly," she said. "I'm not aware of any such withdrawal having occurred before."
In her statement to the commission, Ms Boland agreed with the Ombudsman's findings that the process had
"I agree with the Ombudsman's findings that allowing a person to be directly involved in their own working
with children check ... could enable a person to inappropriately influence their own check, which is what
occurred with Mr Larkins," she said.
After being refused a check, Larkins forged his own document and placed it in HACS's files.
Ms Boland said the way working with children checks were conducted had been significantly reformed since
2003 and the checks were no longer open to internal review.
The hearing continues.
Royal Commission into sex abuse - child victim tells of Scout's dishonour
A young man who was the victim of a notorious paedophile as a young scout has set the tone for the child
abuse royal commission with strong and moving testimony.
The man, 33, became the commission's first witness as he told how his life was ruined when he was abused
as a 12-year-old by Steven "Skip" Larkins, his scout leader at Stockton Scouts, near Newcastle.
'I felt belittled, dirty, wrong and confused about the incident," the man known as AA said, giving evidence
via videolink from a secret location.
He said that he joined the scouts as an eight-year-old because he thought it would be fun, learning new
skills and going to the movies or the beach. Larkins, 47, put paid to that during a sleepover at Larkins'
"I didn't know what I had done to deserve (it) and I kept thinking about what happened was wrong. I am now more
of a loner than I used to be," the man said.
As the commission began its hearings in Sydney, commissioner Peter McClellan warned: "Many of the stories we are
hearing will shock you."
Justice McClellan said that while it was now recognised that the sexual abuse of children was widespread, the full
range of institutions in which it occured was not understood.
The Salvation Army, YMCA, the Anglican Church's North Coast Children's Home at Grafton, an orphanage and Catholic
Church institutions will be the subject of public hearings later this year and early next year.
"Many people who have come to the commission have suffered greatly both at the time the abuse occured and subsequently,"
Justice McClellan said.
"Many have thought of suicide and some have attempted it."
The scandal surrounding Larkin has lead the commission's three-years of hearings because it involves
the way paedophiles can get away with their actions when institutions are not tough enough and do not work together.
It involves the Childrens Court, police, Director of Public Prosecutions, Department of Family and Community
Services, the Children's Guardian as well as the scouts and the foster care agency Hunter Aboriginal Children's
Service, who Larkins went on to manage.
Scout whistleblower, Armand Hoitink, claimed yesterday that Larkins' inappropriate behaviour including showering
naked with scouts was well known in the movement but said: "It was all about protecting the scouts (not) the children."
He said he had been told that Larkins could not sacked because he was part-Aboriginal and it would have let to bad
The commission heard that some NSW scout leaders knew about Larkin in the early 1990s. He abused AA in 1992
and another boy in 1997, who said that he was so scared that he locked himself in Larkins' bathroom for the night.
The second boy and his mother went to police and an AVO was taken out against Larkins.
But Larkins was not suspended until 2000 and forced to resign three years later.
He was wrongly cleared to work with children after being marked a "medium risk" by what was then DOCs, a
ruling later rescinded by the Commissioner for Children and Young People.
The Children's Court even referred young people to Larkins as the head of the foster care organisation.
In 2010 he was caught out when he sent a text to one of those young people: "Hey I love you but you should
go home tonight so we don't get caught."
Larkins, 47, is in jail serving a 22 month sentence for possessing pornographic child videos and forging his
working with children check. Last year he also finally admitted sexually abusing the two young boys in 1992
and 1997 and given a three-year good behaviour bond.
The hearing continues.
Turning a blind eye to a predatory scoutmaster
When Scouts whistleblower Armand Hoitink completed his testimony on the first day of Sydney hearings at the
Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission, he was cheered out of the hearing room.
Passions are high and expectations even higher that the inquiry announced by Julia Gillard in the torrid last
months of her prime ministership will right the wrongs of the past, and protect children in the future.
Hoitink, 56, a stocky, quietly-spoken former Scout leader, told a fury-inducing story about pedophile Steven
"Skip" Larkins, who is currently serving 15 months in jail on charges of aggravated indecent assault of two
children, and child pornography.
Larkins, formerly a Scoutmaster and General Manager of Hunter Aboriginal Children's Services, had been the subject
of numerous complaints and rumours in Scout circles during the 1990s after he was seen "cavorting in the showers"
naked with children on one occasion, and caught in a tent alone with a child.
"It was fairly common knowledge this guy had a problem with children [yet] they kept him in Scouts", said Hoitink.
Hoitink claimed when he asked his superiors: "Why haven't you kicked Steven Larkins out of Scouts?" he was told:
"We can't because he's Aboriginal, part Aboriginal, and that would be bad publicity". He replied: 'Wouldn't it be
more damaging if you found... you had a pedophile in your midst?"
In Christmas 1997 came the last straw when Hoitink spotted Larkins in Scout uniform with a group of children at
SeaWorld on the Gold Coast.
He said he then resigned from Scouts "in protest ... that Steven Larkins was still around children even though he
was a danger."
As it happened, Greg James QC, for Scouts Australia, pointed out Hoitink didn't resign for another year.
Whoever did or didn't heed the alarm bells about Larkins, the incontrovertible fact is that his abuse wreaked a
terrible toll on the young Scouts in his care.
The first witness, AA, gave evidence via videolink. His face was obscured, but his clear strong voice filled the
hushed hearing room on the 17th floor of Governor Macquarie Tower. He sounded younger than his 33 years.
"I had a happy childhood," he said. At eight he joined the Stockton cub scouts. At 12, he was sexually abused by
"I felt belittled, dirty, wrong, confused... I tried to forget about the incident." He is still on medication for
"depression and bipolar as a result of the incident. I still suffer sexual dysfunction."
It wasn't until he was an adult that he told police about Larkins, after he saw him working at a youth centre.
"I was flabbergasted. The person who had sexually abused me... had continued to work with children."
As two Scout managers took the stand struggling to explain why Larkins was never stopped, one sentence stood out.
"He was a very believable sort of man."
Yes, that is the hallmark of a pedophile.
Scouts ignored complaints about paedophile
The Scout movement is facing serious questions over its handling of child abuse allegations
after former Scout leaders in the Hunter alleged officials in the movement turned a blind
eye to the activities of a paedophile who went on to work with vulnerable children in an Aboriginal foster care agency.
Steven ''Skip'' Larkins, the former chief executive of the Hunter Aboriginal Children's Services agency, was convicted
this year of fraud, possessing child pornography and abusing two boy Scouts in the 1990s.
He was exposed as a paedophile only after being caught last year with child pornography at the Newcastle-based
agency where he had been given parental responsibility for 19 vulnerable Aboriginal children, oversaw $5 million
in taxpayer funding and acted as an adviser to the NSW government on child protection issues.
The pornography investigation uncovered Scout abuse complaints from the 1990s to which Larkins this year
pleaded guilty. But a Herald investigation has found in the early to mid-1990s scouting authorities were
alerted to Larkins's suspected paedophile behaviour.
Despite the reports, the scouting officials took years to ''officially suspend him'', and in the
interim allowed him to attend scouting events involving children and undertake administrative duties.
Larkins went on to become a figure in NSW Aboriginal child protection work, where he had parental
responsibility for vulnerable children.
In the US, the Boy Scouts of America are in damage control after the Los Angeles Times revealed a pattern
of inaction and cover-up involving thousands of complaints of child abuse from the 1970s to the 1990s.
The Larkins case raises questions about whether there was a similar lack of action in Australia. This
week, former Stockton Scout leaders Raylene and Armand Hoitink told how they tried to blow the whistle
on Larkins in the mid-1990s but were fobbed off by then senior officials.
The couple said they and a close relative had raised a number of allegations with senior scouting officials
including that Larkins was:
Caught cavorting naked in the shower with boys at a Scout camp;
Had a Scout lie on his chest while he and the boy were alone in a tent put up in a scout hall;
Approached children at a swimming pool offering them lollies and trying to coerce them back to his house.
''He's the reason we are no longer in Scouts,'' Mr Hoitink said last week. Mrs Hoitink said her late brother
Toby, who was a Scout leader, had complained after finding a boy Scout lying on Larkins's chest in the mid-1990s.
She said Toby had reported this to the Regional Commissioner, John Grothen, and the District Commissioner, Bill Metcalf,
who did not stop Larkins from having access to Scouts. Grothen has since passed away. Mr Metcalf has vigorously rejected
any claims he did not act, saying he repeatedly tried to get Larkins kicked out of the scouts.
Mrs Hoitink said she believed another leader knew of the shower incident and had been told of the tent incident.
Mr Hoitink said that in 1997 he rang police after being tipped off about the pool incident. But he said he was
admonished by Metcalf for not contacting Scouts first and letting them handle it.
Mr Hoitink said after this incident, Scouts promised to remove Larkins from any contact with children. But,
he said, in late 1997 or early 1998 he and his wife saw Larkins with a group of Scouts on a trip to Seaworld - something
that Scouts justified because Larkins had ''been promised a trip''.
In 1998, police investigated an allegation Larkins abused a boy Scout but the case was dropped after the
victim declined to go to court, sources told the Herald. Larkins this year pleaded guilty to this offence.
Scouts Australia NSW has refused to go into detail about such sexual abuse allegations but did confirm it
was aware of a ''concern'' raised with Scouts in 1998.
A Scouts spokeswoman said the organisation contacted NSW Police about the matter and continued to liaise
with police through the years up to the recent court case. However, Scouts have confirmed they officially
suspended Larkins only in 2000 after another complainant came forward alleging abuse - an incident that was not
prosecuted at the time but which Larkins was convicted of.
A Scouts Australia NSW spokeswoman said last week Larkins had been ''removed'' from ''face-to-face with youth members''
from April 1997 following a complaint.
But she confirmed Larkins had continued to do administration tasks for the region and ''may have attended
supervised regional events'' up until his suspension in 2000.
She said Larkins had not been active in Scouts for more than a decade. Scouts takes responsibility
for the safety and care of young people extremely seriously, she said.
NSW Police would encourage anyone with information about child sex offenders to contact police.
Bungle allowed paedophile to take care of children
A paedophile was given parental responsibility for 19 vulnerable Aboriginal children
and his organisation handed $5 million in taxpayer funding by the same government department
which had classified him as a risk to juveniles years earlier.
The chief executive of the Hunter Aboriginal Children's Services, Steven Andrew Larkins,
was convicted last month of child sexual assault and fraud charges after he was caught with child pornography.
But the Department of Family and Community Services had known that Larkins was a risk to children as he
was suspected of sexually abusing a boy in the 1990s when he was a scout leader.
Larkins applied for a ''working with children check'' with the department's screening unit in 2003.
The allegations meant Larkins was deemed to be ''medium risk'' and was not cleared to work unsupervised with children.
Yet he was still able to obtain the powerful position of parental responsibility for 19 children whose care
had been given to HACS by the department over nine years.
Parental responsibility gave Larkins complete control over the children, including allowing him to take them
into his home alone.
Larkins was also able to play a prominent role in child protection, including presiding over HACS being given
a $5 million boost in taxpayer funding in 2007 to expand the number of children it had care of.
This week the department admitted it failed to follow standard procedure and tell the board or any other managers
at the Hunter Aboriginal Children's Services (HACS) of its findings.
Instead, Larkins alone was informed of his classification, which allowed him to forge a document showing he had
obtained clearance to work with unsupervised with children, and which was placed in his personnel file.
A spokeswoman for the department said: ''Standard procedure was to send correspondence on the working with
children check to the employer and, where the chief executive officer was the applicant, to the board. This
was not done in this case. Community Services acknowledges and regrets this error.''
The department also admitted the practice of awarding parental responsibility to an executive of a non-government
organisations ''was not usual practice'' and was banned following the Wood special commission of inquiry into the
child protection system in 2009.
The new chief executive of HACS, Terry Chenery, said Larkins had had access to the children alone
and outside of work as a result of being awarded parental responsibility.
Mr Chenery said there had been no ''substantiated evidence'' to say that Larkins had inappropriately
dealt with children under HACS care.
Larkins was exposed last year by a chance incident when a fellow employee found a USB stick
containing dozens of child abuse images belonging to Larkins in one of the organisation's cars.
A police search of his home found cartoons depicting child pornography on his mobile phone, tablet and computer.
An investigation was launched, and Larkins was charged with the aggravated indecent assault of an 11-year-old boy
in 1992 and a 12-year-old boy in 1997.
Last month Larkins, 46, was convicted and sentenced to at least nine months in jail for four counts
of possessing child abuse material. He was given a further 12-month minimum sentence for forging the
working with children documents to obtain his $86,000-a-year position and for lying in a statutory
declaration, amounting to a total non-parole period of 19 months. The sentence has been stayed pending
an appeal, although Larkins is not contesting the three-year good behaviour bond handed down for the
assaults on the two boys. The appeal will be mentioned in the Newcastle District Court on November 15.
Rory Callinan, Louise Hall
Child protection advocate jailed for abusing children
A Newcastle man who advised Governments on child protection has today been jailed for a range of child sex offences.
The former CEO of Hunter Aboriginal Children's Services Steven Andrew Larkins, pleaded guilty to nine
offences including producing and possessing child pornography, fraud
and the aggravated indecent assault of two boys aged 11 and 12.
The 46-year-old has worked in advisory roles on child protection issues for both the New South
Wales and Federal Governments.
Larkins was so revered in New South Wales he was on expert panel for the Government's 'Keep them Safe' reforms,
but Newcastle Local Court heard the former Scout leader was secretly attracted to young boys.
The court heard the Department of Community Services was aware of a complaint by one of his victims in 1997.
Larkins has since admitted to falsifying working with children checks to keep his job.
Today he showed little emotion while being sentenced to a minimum 19 months jail.
Magistrate Ian Cheetham acknowledged he had shown some remorse but doubted that he was no longer attracted to young boys.
Larkins will be eligible for parole in February 2014.
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