FACEBOOK has been included in a class action against a convicted pedophile who allegedly posted comments on social media gloating about his sex crimes against a girl.
THE Tasmanian Sexual Assault Support Service on Monday revealed plans to launch a class action against the man, as well as indirect parties Facebook, the parole board and the sex offenders register, claiming breach of the anti-discrimination act.Service chief Liz Little said the man's comments were demeaning and vilified the girl."He has also justified his behaviour, that it wasn't in fact pedophilia or engaging in any form of sex that was harmful," she told ABC radio."The Act prohibits people doing things that we know would create hurt and shame for a victim of sexual abuse, but it also could amount to victimisation under the anti-discrimination act."The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was 58 when sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail by Tasmania's Supreme Court for having sex with a girl aged under 17, the age of consent in the state.He was released in March 2013 and remains on the child sex offender register.Since his release, the man has posted a series of online comments, including that he is the envy of many men across Australia, The Mercury reported.Facebook said the account has been deactivated and that convicted sex offenders are not allowed to join the social media service.But Ms Little said Facebook has a case to answer as an indirect respondent in the class action, for enabling distribution of the man's comments."Facebook have a consent form, when people sign up to it, where they do ask people if they're sex offenders," she said."If you write `no' then you go through."What are the duties of Facebook to check they are telling the truth?"In a brief statement, Facebook said it works closely with law enforcement agencies and removes the profiles of convicted sex offenders when they are reported.Tasmanian police Assistant Commissioner Donna Adams said detectives will "examine the circumstances surrounding the matter".Ms Little's class action is due to be lodged with the state's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner later this week."The end point of this is to start trying to get the sorts of legislative changes and ongoing protections that we need for victims of sexual abuse, particularly children victims of sexual abuse," she said.Tasmanian police minister Rene Hidding is aware of the class action and said the government is already looking at a review of the community protection act to determine if legislative changes are necessary.