Scout leader jailed for child sex offences

Former Gisborne Scouts leader Michael Schultz has been sentenced to 10 years, four months’ jail for child sex offences relating to a young female scout.
Schultz was sentenced on July 10 for grooming, an indecent act and sexual penetration of a child under the age of 16, and possessing child pornography, in a case Judge Pullen described as “most serious and disturbing”.
Schultz was reprimanded for abusing his position of power as Gisborne Scouts Mitchell Troupe leader in 2015 and 2016, when he engaged in unauthorised activities with victim, Sara*, who was just 14 at the time.
On three occasions Schultz had used scouting activities as an opportunity to be alone with Sara including one private venture he claimed would help Sara brush up on her camp craft for her Australian Scout Medallion. Two incidents referred to providing the victim with alcohol.
The court heard Schultz had “actively participated in sexualised messaging” on social media, and during a police investigation, 22 sexualised images of Sara were found on Schultz’s phone.
The court heard Sara was vulnerable at the time, had a history of self-harming, and had approached Schultz for support. Sara had been diagnosed with an eating disorder, had suffered with anxiety, depression and PTSD, worsened by the offences against her.
Judge Pullen said Sara and her parents had “suffered considerably” as a result of Schultz’s actions.
Scouts Victoria told the Express it was “appalled at the behaviour of a former scout leader who betrayed a young scout and her family”.
“His actions have impacted the local scouting community, as well as the former scout leader’s church,” a spokesperson said.
“The former Scout Leader breached scouting’s child protection rules and demonstrated complete disregard for the ongoing training delivered to all adult volunteers by organising unauthorised camps, which he represented as official scouting events. Driving a child alone, and sharing one-on-one messaging with a child, also contravenes scouting rules.”
Scouts Victoria said its primary concern was for the child and her family.
“Senior scouting representatives met them as soon as the trial concluded in April to offer an unreserved apology. “We have also provided support for members of the scout group and their families,” the spokesperson said.
Scouts Victoria has been in discussions as recently as last week with the family about compensation.
Schultz was married with two children, and was involved with the Uniting Church for 20 years as a member of the council, devoting time to maintenance of the church. He also volunteered to set up Anzac Day services at Gisborne for many years.
It was heard that despite the “lack of remorse for his offending”, Mr Schultz showed good prospects of rehabilitation, given his “prior good character, lack of criminal history, existence of strong family support from his wife and children and stable employment history”.
Schultz will be eligible for parole after serving seven years and four months.
* Not the victim’s real name.

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