Ex-Salvo to fight child sex abuse charges
A 71-YEAR-OLD man will fight allegations he sexually abused boys over three decades as a Salvation Army member, a West Australian court has heard.
WILLIAM Edwin Steele is accused of abusing boys aged between 11 and 18 from 1963 to 1989 when he was associated with several Perth churches.
Steele was a band member and assisted in organising trips during that time, police say.It is also alleged Steele used a rented flat in South Perth where he encouraged the boys to engage in sexual behaviour with him.Steele briefly appeared in the Perth Magistrates Court on Tuesday where his lawyer said he intended to fight the 10 charges.
Outside court, Salvation Army spokesman Bruce Redman said the organisation was shocked by the allegations.He said the Salvation Army had been in contact with the alleged victims and several of them had been provided counselling.He also urged any other victims to contact WA police.”Child abuse is a dreadful scourge on Australia, and the Salvation Army is about helping people, not hurting people,” Dr Redman said.”Unfortunately, there are some people in every organisation that do the wrong thing.”Dr Redman said the accused man was a member of the church at the time, not an employee.Steele was flanked by supporters and remained silent as he left court.He is scheduled to appear in the same court on July 7.