A FORMER youth worker and brother of killer Katherine Knight - the first Australian woman to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole - is accused of grooming and repeatedly sexually assaulting two teenage boys over a number of years at Muswellbrook and Gateshead, plying them with drugs and alcohol and introducing one to disgraced former Swansea MP Milton Orkopoulos.
Neville Roughan, listed in court as Neville Joseph Knight, appeared in Newcastle Local Court on Friday charged with 15 offences, including nine counts of child sexual assault and five counts of supplying cannabis. Mr Roughan, 71, of Marks Point, was arrested on Thursday after a lengthy investigation from Lake Macquarie detectives attached to Strike Force Eiraban, which formed in November last year to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse against two teenage boys between 1990 and 2004 at Muswellbrook and Gateshead.
Mr Roughan was granted conditional bail on Friday only for police prosecutor Lyn Palywoda to immediately stay the decision of Magistrate Brett Thomas, effectively blocking his release until the DPP can apply for a detention application in the NSW Supreme Court next week.
The court heard Mr Roughan had a connection to Orkopolous, the former politician who in 2008 was jailed for 13 years and eight months for child sexual assault and drug supply offences.
The connection, through Neville Roughan's now deceased brother Patrick Roughan, the former Swansea ALP branch president who was acquitted of child sexual assault in 2008, was raised as part of Neville's Roughan's bail application.
According to police facts, Neville Roughan introduced one of the alleged victims to Orkopolous in 2004 and Orkopolous asked the boy: "How old are you?"
"That [connection to Orkopolous] is there to show that this is a much bigger matter than what is before you," Sergeant Palywoda told Magistrate Thomas.
Neville Roughan was a youth worker at the Muswellbrook Youth Service in the 1980s and 1990s and allegedly began grooming, sexually assaulting and supplying cannabis to a boy.
The boy told police he was sexually assaulted in exchange for cigarettes, abused along with other children while away at camps and coerced into continuing an unlawful sexual relationship with Neville Roughan.
Another victim claims he was routinely sexually assaulted by Neville Roughan over a number of years after he began visiting his house at Gateshead to smoke cannabis.
The matter was adjourned until September, but could be listed for a detention application next week.
Sergeant Palywoda said a further two alleged victims had come forward overnight to make allegations against Neville Roughan, while he had allegedly disclosed details about another alleged victim during an interview with police.
Knight was the first Australian woman sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for stabbing her partner John Price 37 times with a butcher's knife, skinning him and cooking parts of his flesh in 2000.
As part of a bail application, Mr Roughan's solicitor, Jacob Tate, said Knight's notoriety could make Mr Roughan's time in jail difficult, but Sergeant Palywoda said the nature of the charges against Mr Roughan would do that themselves.
Mr Tate also said Mr Roughan's age, mental and physical health conditions and the time he would have to wait in custody for a trial meant he should be granted conditional bail.
Ultimately, Magistrate Thomas agreed with Mr Tate and found that a number of conditions could mitigate any concerns about Neville Roughan posing an unacceptable risk of endangering victims of failing to appear.
He granted Neville Roughan bail, but that was swiftly blocked by Sergeant Palywoda under rarely used legislation reserved for only those accused of the worst crimes.
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