Pregnancy of young state ward sparks calls for inquiry
The South Australian opposition is calling for an independent inquiry into the abuse of a 13-year-old girl in state care who was impregnated by man she met on a dating app.
Matthew McIntyre, 35, was jailed for almost two years after messages between him and the teenager in January were discovered and reported to the police.
It was then found the 13-year-old was pregnant.
Mr McIntyre fronted court on Monday where the man claimed he met the girl through a teenage dating app, Mylol, after she approached him.
Opposition leader Peter Malinauskas on Wednesday said the 'unacceptable' and 'shocking' scenario needed a prompt explanation from the state government.
He said Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson needed to answer how the paedophile could strike up an online relationship with the victim under her care; what steps have been taken since learning of the scenario; and what was being done to ensure it didn't happen again.
"Rachel Sanderson, as the Minister, is responsible for all of those children in state care … the lack of transparency here speaks volumes," Mr Malinauskas said.
"How has the minster allowed the situation unfold where a child under her guardianship was allowed to fall victim to a 35-year-old paedophile and fall pregnant?
"That is an unacceptable situation and the Minister must account for how that situation was allowed to occur."
If under his leadership, Mr Malinauskas said he expected his Minister to draw the cabinet's attention to the issue immediately and initiate a full independent inquiry into how it happened and find ways to prevent it from happening in future.
He expected the state government to do the same.
"The Minister as a starting point needs to explain the level of inaction … Once we establish some basic facts, then we can start to purse what the government's response should be now."
Opposition Child Protection spokeswoman Katrine Hildyard said she was shocked and saddened by the news.
"I don't see there is any valid explanation."
On Monday, the department's deputy chief executive Fiona Ward told The Advertiser she could not comment on any specific child or young person in care but that the safety and wellbeing of children was their top priority.
The Department of Child Protection has been contacted for comment.
Originally published as Pregnancy of state ward, 13, sparks calls for inquiry*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.