FIVE alleged paedophiles from various parts of South Gippsland have been arrested and charged since specialist detectives investigating sexual and child abuse cases were stationed in Wonthaggi last September.
Three of the offenders are due to be sentenced within the next month.
Detective Senior Constable Simon Fisher from the Central Gippsland Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT) said several of the cases have been investigated for well over 12 months.
Harrowing details of specific cases have already been aired in court, with the list of offenders including:
• A 39 year-old Bass Coast man found guilty of incest against a teenage girl in 2005. The man is due to be sentenced this Friday.
• A 48 year-old South Gippsland man charged with 32 incest offences dating back to 2001, all against one young victim.
• A 21 year-old man charged in relation to sexual offences committed against a 15 year-old girl.
• A 78-year old Corner Inlet man arrested and summonsed with sexual offences allegedly committed against a four year-old child in the early 80s. The man is due to appear at Korumburra Magistrates’ Court on June 4.
• A 42 year-old former Phillip Island man charged with sexual offences committed against a 14 year-old girl.
Detective Fisher said many of the cases were historical offences that had only come to light after victims approached their local station.
“Now we’re working in the local area, it’s easier for people to come and report matters,” he said.
“They can be assured they will get a response from police.”
Det Fisher said victims have reported claims of abuse dating back to the 1960s.
If police are unable to get a matter before the courts, victims are put in touch with the relevant support services.
The two detectives stationed at Wonthaggi were initially part of a four-month trial of the service last year.
Up until then, members of the Central Gippsland SOCIT have serviced Bass Coast and South Gippsland Shires from the Morwell Police Station.
This pilot service in Wonthaggi has been extended, with a high possibility of SOCIT team members being available at the station permanently.
Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Gye from the Morwell SOCIT said the Wonthaggi service is proving efficient and convenient for the public.
“There are a quite a few people walking into the Wonthaggi station asking for SOCIT, and this allows them to get a much quicker response than if they had to travel to Morwell,” he said.