Ombudsman seeks public assistance with Whitehead investigation

 
Wednesday 12 July 2017
 
The Victorian Ombudsman has begun an investigation into several matters involving the Victorian Railways, its successor organisations and associated rail entities, and convicted child sex offender, Robert Whitehead. The case was referred to the Ombudsman by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.
 
The investigation includes Mr Whitehead’s:
  • re-employment with Victorian Railways and its successor organisations after being imprisoned for child sex offences from 1959–1960
  • leasing of State-owned property from Victorian Railways and its successor organisations
  • appointment as Secretary of the Puffing Billy Preservation Society and involvement with the Emerald Tourist Railway Board
  • volunteer positions with the above, and related entities.
 
The investigation will also examine how complaints or allegations about Mr Whitehead were received and handled by these entities. 
 
“We are now keen to speak to any current or former employees or volunteers at these organisations who have knowledge of the issues we are investigating”, said Ombudsman Deborah Glass.
 
The Ombudsman's investigation is not able to directly consider or investigate actual incidents of alleged sexual abuse. Anyone who wishes to report allegations of sexual abuse should contact Victoria Police. For support and advice relating to sexual assault, call the Sexual Assault Crisis Line on 1800 806 292.
 
Interested persons can contact the investigation at: investigation@ombudsman.vic.gov.au or by calling 03 9613 6192 or (Regional) 1800 806 314
 
Deborah Glass is not available for interview.
 
Media contact: Charlotte Hilling Tel 03 9613 6176 | charlotte.hilling@ombudsman.vic.gov.au