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Australia: Ignored complaints against pedophile Dennis John McKenna spark inquiry call

| November 8, 2011 at 11:58 am

Child AbuseWEST Australian Premier Colin Barnett wants an inquiry into how one of Australia’s worst serial pedophiles was able to continue his abuse for years after initial complaints to police.

Mr Barnett has met with Public Sector Commissioner Mal Wauchope to discuss an official inquiry into allegations that complaints against Dennis John McKenna were dismissed by police and senior public servants in the 1970s and 80s.

McKenna was jailed for six years last month after pleading guilty to sexually abusing six boys, aged 13 to 15, in his care. He had previously been jailed for six years in 1991 for similar offences and may face more charges as other victims come forth.All the offences happened at St Andrew’s Hostel in Katanning, a boys’ home in WA’s Great Southern region, where McKenna was head warden from 1975 to 1990.

McKenna was considered a pillar of the Katanning community at the time and had received numerous awards for his work with children.

Two former government employees have since publicly stated their superiors, police and a Katanning Shire councillor all ignored claims by one of the victims in 1985 that he had been sexually abused by McKenna, who remained in charge of the hostel for another five years until his arrest.

One of the former government employees is Maggie Dawkins, the wife of former federal treasurer John Dawkins.

Mrs Dawkins, who was involved with a youth training and employment program that used the hostel for accommodation, has called for a royal commission into the abuse.

A newspaper report today said the WA Department of Education first received a child sex complaint about McKenna in 1980 – a decade before his first arrest.

Mr Barnett told parliament today he was awaiting advice from Mr Wauchope before deciding what action to take.

“I will await that advice of the Public Sector Commission and then cabinet will consider it, and if we make a decision on an inquiry and what form it should be, I will inform the house immediately,” he said.

Mr Barnett said an independent inquiry was “one of the options being considered”, along with a royal commission.

Source: Perth Now

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