Whistleblower sues South Australia, claims concerns raised about paedophile Shannon McCoole were ignored

A former Families SA worker who blew the whistle on one of the state's worst paedophiles Shannon McCoole is suing the state of South Australia for damages.

The woman, who cannot be named, is seeking compensation for emotional distress and financial losses suffered after her concerns were ignored by superiors within the government department.

She claims she was "intimidated" by colleagues and superiors after warning them of the allegations against the now-convicted paedophile McCoole, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence for sexually abusing young children and babies in state care.

Court documents show the woman informed three people within Families SA and reported her concerns to the Child Abuse Report Line and the Police Sex Crimes Investigation Team.

Despite that, she believes she was discriminated against for speaking out.

"The plaintiff was victimised because she felt she was being intimidated by a senior officer of the defendant as a direct result of the appropriate disclosure of public interest information," the document reads


"[She] believed this was a deliberate attempt to undermine her."

The woman also claims her job was being threatened by a senior officer of the department after she warned them of the allegations against McCoole.

When McCoole's sentence was handed down in 2015, it was then the longest sentence given to a sex offender in South Australia's history.

The woman has previously given evidence at the royal commission into victims of child sexual abuse.

It is unclear how much she is suing the state for, however court documents show she suffers post-traumatic stress, depression, distress and unhappiness.

Court documents say the woman also suffers remorse for leaving the industry.

"[She] feels guilty for leaving child protection and constantly questions the value of doing the right thing in life," the document reads.

The woman is also seeking damages for economic loss suffered.

That includes loss of wages, loss of superannuation, loss of earning capacity and loss of promotion opportunity.

Lawyer's request for suppression of matter

The woman's lawyer Stephen Kenny sought suppression of everything to do with the matter and asked for the whole file to be locked down.

However, Judge Jane Schammer refused the request arguing there was no basis on which to grant the order.

"I don't see how I can at this point in time, or indeed probably at any point in time, subject to further argument, put a blanket prohibition on the press," Judge Schammer said.

The case will return to court tomorrow where the judge will hear from the woman's defence lawyers, and lawyers for the state of South Australia


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