Martin Evans, crime correspondent
A BICTON man will front Bunbury Magistrates Court today charged with the historical sexual abuse of two young children.
It will be alleged that between 1979 and 1983 the 64-year-old man, who was a teacher at the Bunbury Seventh Day Adventist Primary School at the time, sexually abused a student at his home.
The child was aged between five and 10 years old at the time.
It is further alleged that between 1987 and 1988 the man sexually abused a second student from the school at his home in Willetton.
The second victim was 13 years old at the time.
The charges are a result of ongoing investigations stemming from the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual offences.
The man has been charged with three counts of carnal knowledge, six counts of attempted carnal knowledge and nine counts of indecent dealing of a child under 14 years.
AT a busy railway station in China, travellers were walking up and down the aisles and many others were sitting on benches while waiting for their trains.
On one of the benches at the waiting hall was a group of four – a young girl, a young man and a middle-aged couple.
The girl was sitting on the lap of the young man, whose hands were inside her dress, fondling her breasts.
The middle-aged couple behaved normally, as though there was nothing wrong with the man’s act.
What would you do if this happened right in front of you? Many people did nothing, or perhaps they were busy with their phones and did not notice at all.
But this disturbing scene that lasted some five minutes was seen by one concerned traveller, who took pictures and complained to Chinese author Chen Lan, who is also an activist in child protection.
After verifying the facts, Chen lodged a police report and posted the incident on her Weibo (Chinese microblogging site similar to Twitter) on Aug 12, which has since been forwarded more than 140,000 times.
“If he could do this in public, it would be even worse at home,” she later told cnr.cn, the online news portal of China National Radio in an interview.
The young man’s conduct has also enraged the public.
Police stepped in to investigate.
It was later revealed that the incident took place at Nanjing South Railway Station in Nanjing city of eastern China.
Police said the 10-year-old girl was adopted by the couple from Henan province, most probably illegally. Police are probing whether there was an element of human trafficking.
The alleged paedophile, who turned out to be the child’s 18-year-old foster brother, was arrested last Tuesday. He is facing a maximum jail term of just five years if convicted – an extremely light sentence for someone who molested a young girl.
Police arrested the 49-year-old man who was later identified as the girl’s uncle, last Wednesday.
According to the police, the girl has been living with her grandmother since her parents divorced, as her chronically ill father was unable to take care of her.
At the time the photograph was taken, she was brought by her uncle to the hospital for treatment of a skin disease.
Chinese courts dealt with 10,782 cases of child sexual abuse from 2013 to 2016, the Supreme People’s Court told China Daily, which also reported that some 88% of child victims were abused by people close to them, including their teachers, neighbours or relatives.
Sun Xuemei from the Girls Protection Special Fund of the China Foundation of Culture and Arts for Children pointed out that a huge majority of children had never received sexual assault prevention education.
“The country must educate children about how to avoid sexual assault,” she told the daily.
Cases of paedophilia are not rare or new in this society, but what gives me the creeps is the people’s perception of paedophiles.
Some people, including the 10-year-old girl’s foster parents, took the paedophilia problem lightly and many netizens even thought it was okay if both the girl and her foster brother were “in love”.
Over the past one week, Chen received more than 2,000 death threats and uncountable messages attacking and cursing her for being a “busybody”.
Chen, who also founded Xiao Xi Wang Zhi Jia (literally translated as The Little Home of Hope), said the child protection organisation had helped thousands of abused children over the past seven years.
“Cases of child sexual abuse are far more serious than we could imagine, especially those involving boys,” she wrote on Weibo. “Although we have seen improvement and a growing awareness among the community, there is still a lot more that needs to be done for the sake of our children.”
Instead of sensationalising the case, she hoped her exposure of the dilemma of these victims could lead to the setting up of a more efficient and effective system in child protection, be it from the enforcement or legal perspective.