Former minister to trial for alleged sexual assaults on men


Gareth Ward former minister sexual assault
Image: Gareth Ward Facebook

A former Liberal minister will stand trial over historical sexual and indecent assault allegations. Gareth Ward, former NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services pleaded not guilty to the charges in the Nowra Local Court on Friday.

In May 2021, Gareth Ward identified himself as the subject of an inquiry by the NSW Police child abuse and sex crimes squad. He then resigned from his portfolio and moved to the cross-bench. In March 2022, police charged Ward with three counts of indecent assault, one count of sexual intercourse without consent, and one of common assault.

Police alleged that he indecently assaulted a 17-year-old youth in February 2013 and then sexually abused a 27-year-old man in Sydney in September 2015.

The MP subsequently ignored a call from the NSW Premier to resign from Parliament but the NSW Legislative Assembly voted unanimously to suspend him.

On Friday, the former minister pleaded not guilty to the five charges. He will face a Sydney court next month.

Unhappy ending

In September 2017, Ward claimed two men attempted to blackmail him after he booked a massage during a stay at a New York hotel. Although various media outlets described the requested service as a ‘special massage’, Gareth Ward insisted to the ABC that he ordered a standard service.

“The claims requesting a special massage are untrue. I requested a normal massage as people on holidays will often do.”

He said that two men consequently arrived at his room offering sexual services. Ward claimed the pair became aggressive when he declined their offer. They also started to film him. He said he had partially undressed ahead of their arrival in anticipation of the massage.

“They said to me, ‘We’re underage. We’ll put this on the internet unless you give us money’.

“I said, ‘I didn’t order this, get out of my room, I want you to leave, I don’t have any cash’.”

Gareth Ward said he escaped the men by pretending he would get them money from an ATM but headed straight to the front desk and alerted hotel staff. No charges were ever laid over the incident.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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1 Comment

  1. Paul
    20 August 2022
    Reply

    Since this is before the courts, we must remember what journalist Liza Wilkinson did in Canberra and not forget within the justice arenas. We all must be extremely careful, because eventually actions have terrible legal minefields of consequences!

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