Some of SA’s worst child sex offenders caught breaching their GPS tracking orders
Some of South Australia’s most high-risk child sex offenders being electronically tracked in the community have recorded multiple breaches of their order since 2014, new statistics obtained by the ABC reveal.
- New laws came into effect in July 2014 to allow SA Police to track serious sex offenders
- There have been 24 convictions for breaches, with a further 12 charges before the courts
- Ten of the 30 criminals subjected to GPS monitoring have had their order suspended because they have been locked up again
One paedophile subject to electronic monitoring is currently being prosecuted for twice breaching his reporting obligations by allegedly having contact with children for “extended periods”.
He also allegedly failed to inform police of the contact or the parents of his criminal past.
SA Police Detective Superintendent Mark Wieszyk, the officer in charge of the Public Protection Branch, said tracking serious child sex offenders had become an important tool to safeguard children in the community.
He said GPS monitoring was one resource in his arsenal to help identify the real time locations of convicted child sex offenders.
“It also aids in investigations into potential breaches of reporting obligations and can assist in the protection of individuals, and the greater community, by providing police with the opportunity to set up alarms and exclusion zones for tracked offenders,” he said.
New SA Police figures show that since July 2014 when new laws came into force allowing police to track serious sex offenders, 30 criminals have been strapped with a device.
A third of tracked offenders back behind bars
Since the laws came into effect, 10 of the 30 criminals subjected to GPS monitoring have had their order suspended because they have been locked up again, two have moved interstate and another has had their order revoked.
Serious child sex offender Stephen Sullivan this year breached his order four times in five days by cutting off his tracker and inviting a woman with teenage daughters to his house.
Supreme Court Justice Martin Hinton described Sullivan as a “very high risk” to young girls before placing him back in custody and suspending his tracking order.
“Intensive monitoring enables alleged breaches to be swiftly reported to the relevant authorities,” he said in his judgement in June 2018.
Between 2014 and 2016, seven offenders breached their order. Some offences included loitering near children, cutting the bracelet off and possessing child exploitation material.
In 2016, police secured a further two convictions for breaches of paedophile restraining orders and two for breaching reporting obligations.
The following year, there was one conviction for indecent behaviour, two for possessing child exploitation material and a further two convictions for breaching reporting obligations.
But this year, there have been six convictions for breaching reporting obligations, one for persistent exploitation of a child and another for possessing child exploitation material.
Two serious sex offenders facing prosecution
Superintendent Wieszyk said a further two offenders, subject to GPS orders, were currently in custody and awaiting proceedings on a further 12 charges, including possessing child exploitation material and breaching reporting obligations.
He said the two of the five breaches of reporting obligations included one offender having contact with children for extended periods and failing to advise police or the parents of the children of his convictions.
“Police are unable to comment further in relation to these matters,” he said.
“GPS tracking orders are instrumental in the aforementioned matters and are often utilised in investigations into the above listed crime types, or to confirm the attendance of offenders at specific locations, both historical and in real time.
“GPS monitoring of high-risk child sexual offenders has assisted SA Police to enhance the overall protection of children within the community.”
One notorious child sex offender, who had breached his paedophile restraining order more than 50 times in 16 years, was one of the first to be fitted with a GPS tracking device.