Jury set to decide cult leader’s fate

A jury has retired to consider its verdict on sexual assault charges against the religious leader known as “Little Pebble“.

William Kamm, 53, has stood trial in the NSW District Court on four counts of aggravated indecent assault and one of aggravated sexual intercourse against a 15-year-old girl near Nowra on the NSW South Coast.

The girl’s claims dated back to 1993 when she was living in Kamm’s religious commune at Cambewarra.

Kamm has pleaded not guilty before Judge John Williams.

Kamm had been disadvantaged by the length of time – nine years – before a complaint was made, the judge told the court.

Judge Williams, summing up, said Kamm had also been disadvantage by lack of specifics, such as exact dates, in the allegations.

Had the alleged victim – 15 at the time of the alleged offences in 1993 – and her mother made allegations immediately, Kamm would have been able to check the information, Judge Williams said.

The offences were alleged to have occurred in a two-month period in 1993. After 12 years, Kamm had to try to account for every day of that period.

By the time the complaint was made to the police in 2002, some of the records which would have been available at the time of the alleged offences, such as attendance records of the girl at a technical college at Bomaderry, had been destroyed.

He said that given the inability of Kamm to properly test the information alleged, it would be dangerous to make a guilty finding on the uncorroborated evidence of the alleged victim – now a married woman with children.

A series of love letters Kamm had written the girl did not in themselves confirm any of the allegations.

Judge Williams sent the jury to consider its verdict. The jury indicated at 4pm that it would like to return today.

Defence counsel Greg Stanton, representing Kamm, today finished his final address.

In his closing address, Mr Stanton said love letters written by Kamm to the 15-year-old girl did not support allegations of indecent and sexual assault.

The evidence contradicted the mother of the alleged victim, who had represented herself as a “concerned, conservative” woman with her daughter’s interests at heart, Mr Stanton said.

Mr Stanton said that, in 1997, the alleged victim had written to a friend: “Mum says if you’re desperate to lose your virginity then do it with William and bear God’s children.”

The alleged victim had given Kamm’s love letters to her mother. Even though her mother had been horrified by the letters, she had done little.

The mother showed the letters to a lawyer who recommended the alleged victim should be taken to a sexual assault counsellor.

The girl did see a counsellor in 1998, but nothing was done to pursue Kamm until 2002, Mr Stanton said.

Even then, the mother had first contacted journalists before the police were approached, he said.

Earlier, Mr Stanton said the jurors were obliged to take a hard, objective view and to keep in mind that there were people whose beliefs and behaviour deviated from the norm but were tolerated in a democratic society.

The Crown had put to the jury that the evidence of the alleged victim, that there had been sexual liaisons including sexual intercourse, was backed up by the series of letters, written in 1993.

Despite the florid language, the letters largely had no admissions that anything had actually happened, the court heard.

On July 11, 1993, Kamm had written: “I don’t want to push you. Our first kiss was lovely but wait for the next one. They get bigger and better all the time.”

Two days later he said she would need a snorkel to get her breath and had sexy eyes and mouth but she would “have to wait”. On July 17 he had written: “I will not be pressing you in any way to make love because there is plenty of time and you must get to know me better and develop this love.”

On August 7, he had said: “I hope I did not stir you up by touching your legs. You have such sexy legs.” But it was quite unclear, Mr Stanton said, where this might have happened or what was involved.

Kamm had written that he wanted to draw her closer “so that you will be deeply in love with me” and that she would “think of no one other than me”.

On September 28, 1993, he had written that “touching you and kissing you that night was beautiful, I can see that you are desiring me”.

Mr Stanton said that the letter did not stand up as evidence that there had been sexual intercourse in the middle of Nowra. When the evidence of his picking her up after a TAFE course was examined, it was found to be most unsatisfactory.

Mr Stanton pointed out that no complaint had been made until 2002 and then there was a liaison with a “grubby journalist” named Richardson from Today Tonight, involving payment of money.

The question of motive arose as to why the alleged victim and her mother had made the complaints.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
July 5, 2005
By Malcolm Brown and AAP

Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday July 6, 2005.
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