74-Year-Old Former Youth Worker Accused Of Doing Unthinkable to Students

By Cathy Zhang

A 74-year-old former youth worker, Robert Barracluff, has been arrested and charged in relation to a number of historic sex offences.

The suspect from the south coast of New South Wales is a former employee of Daruk Training School in the western Sydney suburb of Berkshire Park. He was charged with nine offences relating to six alleged victims, including “three counts of buggery, five counts of indecent assault of a male, and one count of solicit male to commit indecent act,” police said.

(Screenshot via Storyful)

Detectives from the operation Strike Force Eckersley closed in on the suspect after months of investigation.

The strike force was set up in 2016 to investigate allegations of sexual abuse between 1965 and 1985 involving boys who were aged between 10 and 14 at Durak Training School. These complaints were referred to police by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

This is the third arrest made by police in the operation.

In February, detectives arrested a 67-year-old Brisbane man, Brien Peckover, and extradited him to Sydney to face 19 charges, including indecent assault on a male and buggery. He was accused of sexually assaulting boys aged 12 and 13 years at the school in the 1970s. Peckover is currently on bail awaiting trial.

(Screenshot via Storyful)

In April, a 73-year-old Gold Coast man was arrested and charged with six counts of indecent assault of a male, one count of buggery, and one count of assault with intent to commit buggery, reported the Sydney Morning Herald. The man is on bail and scheduled to appear at Penrith Local Court on Wednesday, May 23.

Offenders of buggery can be sentenced to 14 years in jail, and indecent assault on a male carries a five-year prison term.

Daruk Training School was a government-run school training school for juvenile offenders that operated between 1960 and 1985. Police said in March they had spoken to 80 former students that allegedly suffered sexual abuse at the school.

 

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