Police suspend Yooralla from advisory group following sex abuse revelations

December 7, 2014 – 8:45PM

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Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie

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: Yooralla has been suspended from Victoria Police's disability advisory group. : Yooralla has been suspended from Victoria Police’s disability advisory group. Photo: Penny Stephens

Victoria Police has suspended Yooralla from its disability advisory group in the wake of sex abuse revelations.
Fairfax Media can also reveal another major Victorian disability care provider has employed a convicted sex offender at two houses in east Gippsland.
Yooralla’s suspension comes less than three weeks after force command refused a request to remove it and its then chief executive, Sanjib Roy, from the advisory group amid concern over their failure to prevent serious sexual assaults at a Box Hill North house.
In response to a November 17 complaint from United Voices for People with Disabilities, Victoria Police’s director of corporate strategy, Andrew Loader, wrote that after investigating concerns about Yooralla and Mr Roy “Victoria Police is satisfied for Yooralla to remain a member of the Disability Portfolio Reference Group and for their chief executive officer to act as the representative”.

However, Victoria Police has since reconsidered its position following revelations by Fairfax Media and the ABC’s Four Corners late last month of three serious sex abuse cases within Yooralla and alleged management failures.
A police spokeswoman said: “Victoria Police has notified Yooralla their membership to the Disability Portfolio Reference Group has been temporarily suspended. Victoria Police regularly reviews membership of its Community Portfolio Reference Groups, including the Disability Portfolio Reference Group, to ensure we continue to have adequate and appropriate community representation and can consider any issues or concerns raised.”
Mr Roy, a former police executive, resigned as Yooralla chief executive on November 23 after receiving questions from  Fairfax Media and Four Corners.
The police spokeswoman also confirmed advice has been sought from sex offences detectives and the Office of Public Prosecutions over a criminal negligence complaint against Yooralla management for failing to protect clients from carer Vinod “Johnny” Kumar.
The complaint has been lodged by representatives of Kumar’s victims, who allege Yooralla management failed to act on warnings about the carer’s behaviour dating back several years.
Kumar was sentenced to 18 years jail last year for raping two disabled women in his care at a Box Hill North Yooralla house and seriously sexually assaulting two disabled people.
The spokeswoman said police had been advised by the OPP and sex crimes detectives that the criminal negligence complaint was “not of a criminal nature”.
However, Fairfax Media understands disability advocates have pressed the matter with senior police figures again after other sexual abuse cases and alleged mismanagement within Yooralla were exposed in The Age and ABC’s Four Corners.
Fairfax Media believes the criminal negligence complaint and supporting documents will now be given to Victoria Police’s child sex abuse Sano Taskforce for further review.
The latest developments come as another major Victorian disability care provider, E W Tipping, has been found to have employed a convicted sex offender as a carer.
Colin Michael Rawlings had been employed by E W Tipping as a carer at its Lakes Entrance and Bairnsdale house’s for several years before his recent arrest by police while he was working at the Lakes Entrance facility.
After Rawlings’ arrest it emerged that he had been convicted of violence and sex offences in New South Wales in the late 1980s.
E W Tipping chief executive Graeme Kelly said a police check of Rawlings in 2008 failed to identify “any disclosable offences”.
“We were surprised and concerned by these charges and took action to review the employee’s history to ensure that client safety had been upheld during his employment,” Mr Kelly said in a statement.
“There were no allegations made by clients, families or staff other than one incident on 22/2/13 which was reported to the Department of Human Services. The employee raised the report himself based on an allegation raised by a resident. The family was aware of the incident and was involved in supporting their daughter. The subsequent investigation did not substantiate the allegation.”
Mr Kelly said all E W Tipping staff now undergo a national police check prior to employment. He said this practice had been independently audited and deemed appropriate earlier this year.
Fairfax Media has been contacted by one family of an E W Tipping client which has concerns about Rawlings’ care for their autistic son

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