#childabductors | Shannon McCoole: ‘I thought it was a passing thing that would go away’, paedophile tells inquiry | #parenting | #parenting | #kids

One of South Australia’s most notorious paedophiles, who sexually abused children in state care, has told a royal commission he was trying to be on his best behaviour and wrongly thought he could control his sick fantasies.

Shannon McCoole, now 33, gave evidence in person for about five hours on Friday at a royal commission triggered by his arrest in June 2014 for sexually abusing children as young as 18 months old.

He denied seeking employment at an out-of-school-hours care service, Nanny SA and Families SA, with the intention of offending against children.

But the inquiry was told that before starting work at Nanny SA and Families SA, McCoole discussed an intention to offend against children in online chat rooms.

He outlined how to gain access to children through his employment and strategies to avoid detection.

McCoole described those chats as “just fantasy”.

He is currently serving 35 years’ jail for child sexual abuse and operating a global child pornography website between January 2011 and June 2014.

The Child Protection Systems Royal Commission previously heard serious red flags were not acted on during his employment as a government carer.

About a year before his arrest, a fellow worker reported the suspected rape of a six-year-old girl by McCoole.

He told the inquiry that a Families SA supervisor supported him by saying “he thought it was a complete load of shit” and McCoole later returned from suspension.

Nanny SA had ‘little idea what they were doing’

McCoole said he only received basic training before starting work at Nanny SA in January 2011 and the organisation’s staff had “very little idea what they were doing”.

He said he learnt how to care for children by “watching other people” on the job and developing his own style.

He said when he began working for Families SA in May 2011, most of the guidelines were about working with children over the age of 12.

The red flags that were missed

The Child Protection Systems Royal Commission is examining a series of red flags that were noticed during Shannon McCoole’s employment as a government carer. We look back at significant events during his employment.

Read more

McCoole said he could not recall having a formal interview before beginning at an out-of-school-hours care service in 2010.

The inquiry heard that before Families SA hired McCoole he had become more active in child abuse chat rooms, as well as viewing and sharing child pornography.

He said while he had been attracted to children since about the age of 15, he never intended to abuse children when he started work for Nanny SA, Families SA and the out-of-school-hours care service.

“I didn’t want to be this way — I had quite a lot of self loathing, I still do,” he said.

“It’s hard to describe how much you hate yourself. For quite a few years I guess I denied it to myself, I didn’t want it to be true.

“I thought it was a passing thing that would go away.”

McCoole said he had previously controlled his paedophilic urges while working at summer camp in the USA and thought he could do the same at work in Adelaide.


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