Police squad to investigate child sex crimes in Peel region over fears abuse is rife

WA Police Minister Michelle Roberts will ask the state's police commissioner to send a squad of detectives to the south west after the death of a 11-year-old girl prompted fears a group of child abusers were operating in the region.

Annaliesse Ugle, who has been named with her family's permission, took her own life earlier this week after her alleged abuser was released on bail.

Peter Humes, the man in his 60s who is alleged to have abused her between 2014 and 2020, faces 11 charges of indecent dealing and sexual penetration of a child under 13-years-old.

He is the second Aboriginal man in the state's Peel region, about 100 kilometres south of Perth, to face serious child sex accusations.

On Thursday Bindjareb elder Harry Nannup, a prominent figure in Mandurah and the Peel region, was refused bail after appearing in a Perth court on a string of charges.

The 73-year-old had already pleaded not guilty to three charges of indecently dealing with a child and three charges of sexually penetrating a child.

He has been accused by police of 21 more counts of similar charges.

Mr Humes and Mr Nannup ran a program together called "Fridays with Peter Humes and Harry ­Nannup", a bush retreat which introduced Aboriginal boys to cultural practices.

Ms Roberts said child sexual abuse was one of the most depraved crimes imaginable and police never turn a blind eye when allegations are made.

"Police have already established multi-agency child protection initiatives in the Kimberley and Pilbara, where specialist child abuse squad investigators are co-located with Department of Communities staff to detect, investigate and apprehend offenders," she said.

"I intend to talk to the Commissioner about whether these initiatives could be expanded to other regions of the state, including the South West or as required.

"As a community we also need to redouble our efforts in preventative education.

"That’s why in August, I announced nearly $400,000 in funding to Parkerville Children and Youth Care, to deliver a protective behaviours education program. This funding will contribute to a greater capacity of our young people to recognise and repel predatory behaviour."


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