Police Minister unable to confirm whereabouts of sex offenders

Shadow Minister for Police Peter Katsambanis has called on the State Government to immediately reassure the public that police know the whereabouts of all 58 suspects charged with child sex offences as a result of Operation Fledermaus.

Mr Katsambanis said it defied belief that Minister for Police Michelle Roberts could not yesterday confirm to Parliament if any of the 58 men charged with 349 child sex offences as a result of Operation Fledermaus were in custody, or whether police knew the whereabouts of those not in custody.

“What the Minister is saying is that these offenders could be living anywhere in the State and she cannot confirm the police know their whereabouts,” Mr Katsambanis said.

“The Minister could not, even with almost 24 hours’ notice of the question, tell Parliament if any of the 58 offenders and alleged offenders were on the sex offenders register.”

Shadow Minister for Child Protection Nick Goiran, who asked for the information in Legislative Council Question Time, said Minister Roberts requested his question be put on notice, effectively allowing her to avoid answering for more than a month.

“This latest abuse of the Parliamentary question process adds to the shameful list of contradictory, obstructive and obtuse answers the Minister for Child Protection Simone McGurk has provided around the outcome of Operation Fledermaus,” Mr Goiran said.

“WA Police told the media more than a year ago that 184 child victims were identified in Operation Fledermaus, recently the Minister for Police told Parliament there are 50 victims.

“Were there ever 184 victims? Who were the other 134 children Minister McGurk, after eight months of questioning, assured the public were not in the care of a person either charged or convicted of child abuse?

“It has to be asked if anyone in this Government knows what is happening with victims in Roebourne and the West Pilbara.

“I can only imagine the outcry if 58 men in one Perth suburb were charged with child abuse and the Minister could not reassure the public that police knew the whereabouts of all those charged or convicted.”