A ticket inspector who worked across Adelaide’s public transport network for more than two decades despite posing an “unacceptable risk” to child safety has lost his bid to keep working with children.

Key points:

  • The ban was imposed after a 2019 check uncovered a history of child sexual abuse allegations
  • The allegations included that the man abused several children, but he was never convicted
  • The transport department ended his employment following the ban

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was employed by the Department for Infrastructure and Transport as a passenger services assistant on the Gawler railway line.

According to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT), the 48-year-old was served with a prohibition notice in March last year banning him from child-related work.

The ban was imposed after child protection laws were strengthened in 2019, and the man underwent a working with children check which uncovered a history of child sexual abuse allegations.

The allegations included that the man had abused six children as young as two years old in 1996.

SACAT said the man was charged with three counts of indecent assault and four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under 12 years of age, but that “no explanation has been proffered” as to why the charges did not proceed to trial.

It said the man denied the accusations and “was never convicted of any criminal offences arising from these very serious allegations”, which he described as “inconsistent and untrue”.

SACAT said the man was also accused of committing “acts of physical and emotional abuse” towards his daughter in 2003 and his young son in 2005, and of filming his children in the shower.

“It is highly unusual that he would take it upon himself to make a video of his two young children bathing when his wife was not present,” the tribunal found.

The man was banned from working with children by the Department of Human Services’s Central Assessment Unit.

He later challenged that decision but, in recent findings, senior tribunal member Neil Rainford upheld the ban.

The tribunal said while the allegations of child abuse were “untested and untried”, it was not the tribunal’s role to make a determination about the allegations against the man.

“The consequences to any child if such behaviour does occur would clearly be very serious and the risk would therefore be unacceptable.

“It cannot be overlooked that the applicant does not dispute that he did engage in certain conduct including: offering to take three young females on a camping trip [and] offering to bathe a young male child.”

Man’s employment terminated

The tribunal said the man had started working in the public transport system as a bus operator in 1995, and had been redeployed several times before taking up his current role in 2001.

“I am well satisfied and accordingly find that [he] poses an unacceptable risk to the safety and protection of children such that he should be prohibited from working with them.”

Mr Rainford said the ban imposed by the Central Assessment Unit was the “correct or preferable decision”.

A transport department spokesperson told the ABC that once the department became aware of the prohibition notice against the man, he was “immediately directed not to attend the workplace”.

“Subsequently, this individual’s employment with the department has been terminated.”