Mark Harvey who sexually abused 4 children and raped a child in his out of hours school care program, is eligible for parole after only 6 years behind bars.
The childcare worker whose crimes ruined the childhood of four girls and revealed systemic government failure in dealing with sex abuse cases is eligible for release next month.
Sadly both the SA government and opposition have taken a “wait and see” approach to Harvey and his release. This approach has angered every child advocate out there including longtime friend of FACAA Hetty Johnston of Bravehearts who said sex offenders “should not be taken lightly”.
“These aren’t people who steal your car, they destroy human lives,” she said.
“Politicians seem to take this really lightly, which I don’t understand at all given society expects them to ensure dangerous predators aren’t released into the community.
“We should never keep people in jail longer than needed, but nor should we be allowing sex offenders out until they pose a low, or better yet no, risk to the community.” – Well said as always Hetty.
Harvey, 47, began offending against children in his care in January 2007. As the leader of a suburban school’s OSHC he rewarded children with lollies and physical contact so he could condition them to be receptive to his touch.
His crimes included blindfolding victims for sexually-explicit “taste tests” and softly biting their toes to satisfy his foot fetish. His offending continued until December 2011, when he was arrested and charged with a sex crime committed 12 months earlier.
Funnily enough the SA education department chose NOT to tell parents about Harvey’s offending, they cited suppression orders and due process for not telling parents but the fact is none of that was in place and they should have told them !
The way this case was handled kicked off the Debelle enquiry, which was an inquiry by retired Justice Bruce Debelle. It found the Education Department had been wrong to keep those details from parents. It further uncovered multiple communication failures between the department and the then-Weatherill Government in its handling of child sex cases.
To make matters much worse Harvey was convicted of all crimes in May 2014 but made eligible for release in May 2015, prompting an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Thankfully it succeeded and he was resentenced to 11 years jail – his non-parole period was extended until August 2018.
We are not exactly sure how that works, an 11 year sentence having a 4 year non parole period but it was a LOT better than the original sentence of not even a year behind bars, that he originally received.
Parole Board chair Frances Nelson QC confirmed Harvey “will be considered for parole” in the ordinary course – which included assessment.
“He will be interviewed by the Board before any decision is made,” she said.
“I cannot give you a time frame but, the way we are going and because of our workload, it probably won’t be for a few weeks.”
So here he is a child sexual assaulter who betrayed the trust of vulnerable children in an horrendous manner, being released after just 6 years behind bars, that’s barely 1 year per child that he horrendously abused !
His original conviction was hidden from the parents of the school that he worked at and then he was given only 1 year behind bars. Thankfully on appeal 1 year became 11, but just who does this guy have dirt on to get all this preferential treatment ?
Thank god for the Debelle enquiry ! Without it the SA state government would more than likely still be covering up child abuse cases in it’s departments !
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