“Help us fight this menace”.
That is the call to arms of two survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of convicted paedophile and former prominent Victor Harbor cafe owner Vivian Frederick DeBoo, 74, who will be sentenced in Adelaide Magistrate’s Court next Wednesday, November 28.
The men – former Victor Harbor residents who as boys were popular members of the community, representing both the Victor Harbor Football and Hockey Clubs – have fought a three-year legal battle against DeBoo over several counts of sexual assault.
DeBoo, who was a prominent member of the Victor Harbor Baptist Church and proprietor of cafe The Kitchen Table, used his café and his camp catering business to groom and sexually assault his victims. He has already been jailed for separate sexual assaults against three other Victor Harbor boys in the late ‘90s.
DeBoo served less than two years in jail for those crimes, outraging victims and the community. He now hopes to be spared a jail term and serve his sentence in home detention.
The two men, who can only be identified as Victim A and B, have gained widespread community support at court appearances and last month sent one of the most powerful signs that their community will no longer tolerate sympathetic sentences being handed to paedophiles when they arrived at Adelaide Magistrates Court flanked by their “Army” of supporters.
“Next week, we want our community to turn up to the sentencing hearing in droves… to grow our Army and make it clear that we stand united against this menace,’’ Victim A said.
“We urge Victor Harbor residents to join us in a peaceful yet powerful protest against this serial paedophile outside court from 9am, next Wednesday, November 28.’’
Victim ‘A’s’ impact statement to the court detailed that one of his close Victor Harbor friends had also been a victim of DeBoo.
From that impact statement, DeBoo and the Judge heard that victim had taken his own life as he struggled to live with the abuse imposed on him by the serial paedophile.
“He was one of my great mates. We played footy together. We all loved him as a person and a team mate. You have his blood on your hands today”, ‘A’ said in court.
“Tragically, the horror of what happened to my mate means that he can’t be here to fight with us today.
“I want all my mates, and the entire community of Victor Harbor, to join us outside court next Wednesday. We need to send the strongest possible message to our Parliament and Courts that we don’t tolerate these despicable acts.
“If people feel like they don’t want to be identified during this protest then, like us, they can wear a mask. It’s a powerful way of sending the strongest possible message and remembering our lost mate”.
Wearing a mask to conceal his identity, ‘B’ point-blank asked DeBoo outside court at that last appearance if he felt sorry for his crimes and asked him if he would apologise.
“His response was outrageous,’’ said ‘B’.
“He told me that he was the one with the life sentence. He sniggered at me. He’s an animal, there are no other words to describe him”.
The survivors’ Army of supporters have established a Facebook page ‘DeBoo No Home Detention’ and delivered 10,000 pamphlets to the residents of Pasadena, informing them of DeBoo’s attempts to seek home detention in their community.
As a result, both sides of Parliament have weighed into the debate and there are now new law reforms before Parliament, aimed at ensuring child sex offenders are sent to jail and loose the option of home detention.
“It is unknown exactly how many victims DeBoo has, but sadly its likely a very high number”, said ‘B’.
“It is the saddest of tales, that has ripped the heart out of the Victor Harbor community over the past 40 years.
“Every day more and more of the survivors of DeBoo’s abuse are coming forward to us confidentially, through social media and friends.
“It is hugely important that any other victims do come forward and we urge them to contact SAPOL with their stories. Now is the time to report his offences so that DeBoo can be dealt with appropriately through the legal system.’’