Sexual abuse charges dropped against Blue Mountains circus family





Updated

February 14, 2020 12:18:20

More than 100 charges against a family accused of sexually and physically abusing boys at a Blue Mountains circus school have been withdrawn.

Therese Anne Cook, Paul Cook, Yyani Cook-Williams and Clarissa Meredith were accused of abusing three boys between 2014 and 2016.

The alleged victims were aged between two and seven years old at the time.

Police alleged that two of the three boys had been raped.

NSW Police has requested a review into the withdrawal of charges.

“It remains the strong recommendation of the child abuse and sex crimes squad that the matter proceed before the court and a review has been requested,” a spokesperson said.

During a hearing in May 2018, the prosecution said the case against the accused was strong, even though there was no physical evidence to back up the claims.

Charges have also been withdrawn against three juveniles — who cannot be named — in relation to the allegations.

All seven co-accused pled not guilty.

In May 2018, Magistrate Susan McIntyre said “given the gravity and often bizarre nature” of the allegations, one would expect some physical evidence.

But she said it was unusual for sexual assault allegations, particularly involving young children, to be anything but word-on-word.

“Alleged implements used within the sexual assault scenarios were found within the home — that being needles, bowls and implements and other sporting equipment that was used in specific ways,” Magistrate McIntyre said.

“It may be that it is mere coincidence [because they are everyday items] … however they are certainly issues that will bear weight as the prosecution case goes along.”

Defence lawyer Dylan Welch told the court the case against the accused was “broken”.

The boys were not students of the performing arts school but they were known to the family.

It was alleged the assaults happened at the school and a nearby property, where Paul and Therese Cook and Ms Meredith lived.

Police alleged the accused filmed the abuse which involved sadistic sex acts and what police termed as “blood rituals” where blood was taken from the boys and they were forced to drink it.

Topics:

law-crime-and-justice,

sexual-offences,

katoomba-2780

First posted

February 14, 2020 11:50:55



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