Friday, May 8, 2009

Boys' home rapist could die in jail

A man who raped four boys at a Salvation Army home in the Adelaide Hills up to half a century ago has been jailed for 16 years by the Supreme Court.

The court heard William John Keith Ellis, 76, abused his role as the children's guardian at the Eden Park boys home near Wistow in the 1960s and 1970s.

A jury convicted Ellis last month of seven counts of buggery and six of indecent assault.

Justice Michael David condemned a culture of violence and cruel punishments that reigned at the home against defenceless and vulnerable boys.

He said it was within this horrific environment that Ellis preyed on his four victims, who were between nine and 15.

Justice David said it was inevitable any prison term could well amount to a life sentence because Ellis could die in jail.

But he said no contrition had been shown by Ellis.

"The very existence of the Eden Park boys home and how it was run is a disgrace and your behaviour, sadly, was very much part of that disgrace," Justice David said.

"This was an horrific place by any standards, let alone modern standards.

"There was evidence of beatings, harshness and cruel incarcerations by way of punishment of defenceless and vulnerable boys.

"It makes it difficult to understand how all this took place for an extended period of time virtually under the noses of the community of South Australia."

Ellis will be eligible for parole in 12 years.

He did not react as he learned that he would be 88 before parole becomes possible.

"Your victims are now men in their 50s and it would not be an exaggeration to say that they've been permanently scarred by your offending and of their time in the Eden Park boys home," the judge said.

No sympathy

One of the victims, Timothy Anderson, says living at the boys home was horrendous and Ellis deserves his punishment.

"I wouldn't have any sympathy for him," he said.

"I wasn't there but they said he kicked and screamed at one stage when they came down with the guilty verdicts and I can remember a lot of kids kicking and screaming when they were getting hidings and they just got hit harder, beaten harder because of it."

Mr Anderson said he was too scared to tell anyone of the abuse at the time.

"No-one would listen to you if you told them what was happening to you," he said.

"I know I was too terrified of getting another beating to say anything. I mean they were horrendous beatings.

"He hit me with a piece of wood once. Must have hit me 15 times as hard he could and he was young, strong across the chest and he used to really belt."


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