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Australia cadets guilty in Skype sex case

28 August 2013, 14:00

Sydney - Two former Australian military cadets were on Wednesday found guilty over a sex broadcasting scandal on Skype that triggered a major review of sexism and abuse in the defence force.

Daniel McDonald, aged 21, and Dylan Deblaquiere, aged 20, were convicted by a Canberra jury of using a carriage service in an offensive manner over the so-called Skype scandal at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in 2011.

McDonald was also convicted of committing an act of indecency for his role, in which he filmed himself having sex with a female cadet and streamed it live via Skype to another room where Deblaquiere and four other male students were watching.

The victim, now 20 and unable to be named for legal reasons, did not realise she was being filmed. Traumatised, she went to the media, prompting the government to order a series of reviews into the alleged sexist culture at ADFA and within the military itself.

Canberra formally apologised to victims of abuse in the military last November after more than 1 000 people came forward to one of the inquiries with claims of sexual or other abuse dating from the 1950s to the present day.

That inquiry reported brutal initiation ceremonies and depicted a culture of covering up, failure to punish perpetrators and hostility towards victims who complained.

A separate inquiry into the treatment of women at the ADFA, Australia's premier military college, found widespread low-level sexual harassment and a culture of "accommodating" women in its ranks rather than seeing them as equals.

Some 74% of women at the college reported suffering sexual or gender-based harassment. One ex-staff member said second and third-year males competed for a "trifecta" of sex with first-year women from the army, air force and navy.

McDonald and Deblaquiere will be sentenced on 14 October.


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