Preda­tors’ hor­ri­fy­ing link

Pae­dophiles used camp­ing as­so­ci­a­tion to gain ac­cess to thou­sands of chil­dren

The Advertiser - - NEWS - AMANDA GEAR­ING SARAH KEANE

TWO pae­dophiles used their ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions in the Camp­ing As­so­ci­a­tion of South Aus­tralia to se­cure ac­cess to thou­sands of chil­dren at church and youth camps dur­ing the 1980s and 1990s.

One of the of­fend­ers, Vi­vian De­boo, 74, was jailed this week for sex­u­ally as­sault­ing two boys in the early 1990s – one at a Catholic con­vent where De­boo was cater­ing for a re­treat and one at his cafe in Vic­tor Har­bor.

De­boo was pres­i­dent of the Camp­ing As­so­ci­a­tion for seven years be­fore he stepped down in the mid-1990s. He was con­victed in 1996 of child sex of­fences against three boys in the early 1990s.

The sec­ond pae­dophile on the CASA ex­ec­u­tive was Robert Bran­den­burg who for many years was the Camp­ing As­so­ci­a­tion’s ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer.

Bran­den­burg was a pro­lific child sex of­fender in Angli­can youth group, the Church of Eng­land Boys So­ci­ety.

He was a leader in the CEBS, which pro­moted camp­ing and held na­tional camps.

Bran­den­burg was fac­ing 375 counts of sex­ual as­sault of chil­dren when he was found dead in 1999, ac­cord­ing to the find­ings of Case Study 36 of the Royal Com­mis­sion into In­sti­tu­tional Re­sponses to Child Sex­ual Abuse.

The Ad­ver­tiser can now re­veal that De­boo knew Bran­den­burg from at least the mid1980s when the two men worked to­gether to host a camp­ing sem­i­nar for the fledg­ling Camp­ing As­so­ci­a­tion in 1984.

Bran­den­burg and De­boo held ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions at the same time in CASA, en­abling them to de­sign and im­ple­ment an ac­cred­i­ta­tion pro­gram for church and youth group camp sites around the state.

As early as the 1980s, De­boo wrote in a CASA pub­li­ca­tion that the ex­ec­u­tive had de­cided to in­tro­duce “safety stan­dards” for the 63 or­gan­i­sa­tions in the As­so­ci­a­tion and charg­ing them an­nual mem- bership fees. Mem­ber or­gan­i­sa­tions in­cluded sev­eral church de­nom­i­na­tions as well as youth or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.

Doc­u­ments shown to The Ad­ver­tiser in­di­cate that Bran­den­burg rec­om­mended De­boo’s cater­ing busi­ness to camp op­er­a­tors, giv­ing De­boo trusted ac­cess to hun­dreds of chil­dren.

De­boo and his wife Margaret ad­ver­tised their busi­ness in the an­nual CASA camp­ing di­rec­tory, claim­ing to have catered for 32 years at more than 40 camp­sites in South Aus­tralia. Through en­dorse­ments by Bran­den­burg, De­boo catered at Angli­can camp­sites in­clud­ing the in­fa­mous Har­ro­gate camp­site.

Two vic­tims of De­boo, broth­ers “A” and “B”, who saw their at­tacker jailed this week, be­lieve there could be many more vic­tims. He was ar­rested in De­cem­ber 2016, but waited un­til the day be­fore his Dis­trict Court trial to plead guilty to mul­ti­ple counts of in­de­cent as­sault and gross in­de­cency.

“De­boo groomed par­ents and chil­dren, si­lenced his vic­tims and ap­pears to have been pro­tected by the in­sti­tu­tions that em­ployed him,” one of the broth­ers, who can­not be named, said. The Camp­ing As­so­ci­a­tion of South Aus­tralia was wound up in the early 2000s and a new na­tional body, the Aus­tralian Camps As­so­ci­a­tion was formed in 2006.

Pres­i­dent of the ACA An­drew McGuck­ian said he was not aware of the pae­dophiles in the pre­cur­sor or­gan­i­sa­tion and was shocked and sur­prised by the rev­e­la­tions.

Bap­tist Churches South Aus­tralia ex­ec­u­tive minister Mike Mills con­firmed this week that De­boo was a mem­ber of the Vic­tor Har­bor Bap­tist church in the 1980s and con­tacted the broth­ers he as­saulted via his church con­nec­tions.

“It does not ap­pear that (De­boo) has abused chil­dren at church func­tions but he had built the re­la­tion­ship with the chil­dren through the churches,” Rev Mills said.

The Ad­ver­tiser sought com­ment from the Catholic Church but did not re­ceive a re­ply.

Angli­can Dio­cese of Adelaide spokesman Peter March said the Dio­cese was aware that Bran­den­burg had en­gaged De­boo to be a caterer at an Angli­can camp­site.

Mr March said the Dio­cese did not have any cur­rent com­plaints from vic­tims of De­boo or any cur­rent civil claims re­lated to his of­fend­ing. PAGES 56-57: QUEST LEADS TO DARK WEB OF PREDA­TORS

Pic­ture: DEAN MARTIN

CON­NECTED: Vi­vian De­boo be­fore be­ing jailed.

IN­SID­I­OUS: Camp­ing As­so­ci­a­tion of SA ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer and pae­dophile Bob Bran­den­burg, above left, and an ad­ver­tise­ment for De­boo’s cater­ing busi­ness, be­low.

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