Australian cadets face charges over sex abuse

Monday, May 2, 2011

The ADFA shield.
Image: Cfitzart.

Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) cadets Daniel McDonald, 19, and Dylan De Blaquiere, 18, were arrested and appeared in court Friday after allegations were made that they filmed a female cadet having sex and then broadcasted it over the internet, lying about it afterwards. They were released on bail.

The female complainant, 18, stated that while the sex was consensual, the transmission via the chat host Skype to another room on the grounds of the academy, was done without her knowledge. In addition, she stated that photos were taken and "distributed to other people."

Police allege that on March 29, the footage captured on Mr. McDonald's webcam was sent via Skype to Mr. De Blaquiere's room where he and five other cadets watched the stream on a laptop computer. McDonald told De Blaquiere in advance. Police say De Blaquiere sent a text message to McDonald saying, "I just had a fuckin sick idea pop into my head, fuck her n film it." The friend replied, "Oh friggen hell is she aware of this or not?" McDonald's answer was "Nope."

I just had a fuckin sick idea pop into my head, fuck her n film it

—Daniel McDonald in text message.

Mr McDonald said in a Facebook chat with another friend: "I'm about to root a girl n have webcam set up to the boys in another room."

McDonald's attorney applied for a suppression order in court yesterday to protect Mr McDonald’s name for reasons of national security, but was the request was denied.

The two cadets now face charges of using a "carriage service" to offend. McDonald faces a further charge of committing an act of indecency without consent which carries a maximum penalty of a five-year jail term.

Bail has been granted for both men under provisions they do not contact the complainant or any witnesses involved with the case outside regular ADFA classes.

When the complainant went public with her allegation, there was a flood of anger from the public. The Australian government in connection with the defence force has responded by launching of a series of investigations into the treatment of women in military service, including systematic bullying and harassment that could reach the point of sexual assault.

The ADFA is considering taking action against the two cadets charged in this case, including possible suspension.