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William Stuart Brown: The Maniac, Diplomat of Australia

The head of Australia's leading organisation against child abuse says she wishes she had never made public an explosive report on paedophiles in Bali.

Ms Bernadette McMenamin, the national director of Melbourne-based Child Wise, yesterday declined to endorse most of the allegations in the report, which include an unsourced, anecdotal claim that 80 children were killed by one man in a sexual frenzy in East Bali and buried in a cave.

Another said three children had died from sodomy and sexual abuse, and one said a child had been taken from its bed.

Ms McMenamin said the paper was a "working document" prepared for Child Wise by a student doing a master's degree, was not "an investigation" and should not be referred to as a report.

"It's a whole collection of comments, we don't pretend it's any more than that," she said.

The document had been released to some members of the media in November and had received no coverage at the time, apparently because the allegations it contains are all unsubstantiated.

"There was no interest in it for obvious reasons," she said.

But the arrest in Bali last month of former Australian diplomat and suspected paedophile William Stuart Brown had suddenly prompted a flurry of stories quoting the document alleging a big rise in paedophile activities in Bali, especially involving Australians, Ms McMenamin said.

She said she had no doubt that paedophiles operated in Bali, but people should realise the problem was worse in many other places in Asia. "It's probably less of a problem there than in the rest of Indonesia," she said.

Child Wise had compiled the document to persuade authorities to investigate allegations that she said "had been circulating for years".

"We were not there to investigate . . . I can't say we have investigated the claims that are given to us," Ms McMenamin said.

The 40-page document says paedophiles are predominantly Australian but include people from Hungary, Holland, Switzerland, Japan, the Middle East and Asia.

It names half a dozen Bali bars where children are allegedly available for sex, but the author does not say if she entered any of them or witnessed what is alleged by unidentified people.

The report gives no evidence for its claims that women from Japan, England and Australia aged in their 30s, 40s, and 50s also travel to Bali for sex with children.

"As is the case for most child sex tourists, these women are predominantly opportunistic offenders," it says.

A Bali professor of psychiatry who works in the child sex-abuse field, Luh Ketut Suryani, said the allegations about children being murdered by paedophiles had been around since 1999.

She said it was "impossible" that 80 children had been killed in Bali and secretly buried because such an event could never be hidden from the public.

Professor Suryani said there was no doubt paedophilia was a problem throughout Indonesia, that Indonesians were more involved than Westerners and the problem was not widely understood.

She believed there was probably a network of foreign paedophiles in Bali, but her anti-child-abuse group, Committee Against Sexual Abuse, had been unable to find evidence of it, she said.

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