Confessed paedophile Maurice Van Ryn may have to open funds amassed in his superannuation to compensate his victims under possible federal government reforms.
The parents of the nine male and female victims, who were all family friends of the 62-year-old, are pursuing him for compensation in the District Court in November.
The families had shared concerns Van Ryn had placed his wealth in a tax-free superannuation fund to attempt to avoid paying compensation to his victims, some of whom are still children.
An online petition lobbying for changes to legislation was started by a parent of one of Van Ryn’s victims last week, and it quickly caught the attention of federal Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer. It has collected almost 18,000 signatures in just five days.
“My children need constant psychological care to heal the wounds caused by this man. And all his victims need to be able to access ongoing, specialist support,” the petition reads.
It is believed Van Ryn has assets worth up to as much as an estimated $9million, but in super funds that a court cannot order access to in cases of this nature. Ms O’Dwyer is reportedly looking to conduct a review into Australian superannuation legislation.
“Once again we must thank our community for its overwhelming support of our campaign for change with regards child sex offenders avoiding their obligations to the victims of their crimes,” a spokesperson for the victim’s families said.
“The Minister, Kelly O'Dwyer has listened to us and promised change. We thank her for the rapid attention she has shown to our call for change. Now we must ensure the legislation passes through Parliament and becomes law.”
The spokesperson said they were surprised at how quickly the minister’s office had reacted to the petition.
“While the Van Ryn experience has been horrible for us all, it must be remembered it had also been the catalyst for real change,” the spokesperson said. “People power can make a difference.”