A man at the centre of the now-infamous Skype scandal at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) where he secretly filmed himself having sex with a female cadet and live-streamed it to his peers without her knowledge or consent was also a leading member of a male bastardisation ring which involved initiatory sex acts as part of a Defence football team.
Four trainee officers involved in the group – called Love Of My Life – have been allowed to return to active duty at ADFA after an internal investigation found them to be guilty of “service offences”, the Star Observer can reveal. A Defence spokesperson said all four have been “subjected to disciplinary action”.
The existence of the group only came to public attention earlier this month during sentencing proceedings in the ACT Supreme Court on October 14 for Daniel McDonald, 21, and a second cadet, Dylan Deblaquiere, 20, over the Skype case which saw both found guilty in August of using a carriage service in an offensive manner over the 2011 incident.
McDonald was also found guilty in August of committing an act of indecency after he filmed himself having sex with a fellow military cadet and broadcasting it on Skype to another cadet’s room at ADFA where five men were watching – including Deblaquiere.
During an emotional victim”s impact statement, the female cadet told the court in mid-October that the ADF had not offered her the same support as it did to McDonald and Deblaquiere despite her being an unwitting victim who had to also endure continuing shame.
The young cadet said following the incident she was harassed by other defence force members at a number of bases and constantly referred to as “that Skype slut”.
“That night … you stole my dignity, my self-worth, and my self-respect,” she told the pair in court.
Detective Sergeant Tony Crocker, a member of the Australian Federal Police’s sexual assault and child abuse team, told the court that McDonald was also a founding member of the ‘Love of my Life’ initiation group but no charges could be laid over their activities as he couldn’t identify if the group’s members had committed any criminal offences.
It is alleged the group required cadets in a football team to perform sexual acts on each other as part of an initiation process.
A Defence spokesperson told the Star Observer that its internal investigations – which has so far linked 10 cadets to the group – were continuing after being launched earlier this June.
“The investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour by members of an unauthorised sub-group was announced by the Vice Chief of the Defence Force on Friday, 21 June 2013. Defence is treating these allegations separately to the so-called Skype incident,” the spokesperson said.
“Ten trainee officers have been, or are currently, the subject of disciplinary and/or administrative action in relation to their alleged inappropriate behaviour. Of these, four trainee officers have subsequently been charged with, and found guilty of, service offences. Those four trainees have been subjected to disciplinary action and have returned to duty at ADFA.”
The Star Observer understands all ADFA cadets found to have been involved with ‘Love of my Life’ could face possible termination of their service in coming months.
“Consideration will also be given by Defence as to whether administrative sanctions should be initiated against all of the trainee officers found to have been members of the unauthorised subgroup,” a Defence spokesperson said.
“Such sanctions might range from termination of service to formal warnings.”
Last week, McDonald and Deblaquiere were both given 12-month good behaviour bonds for their involvement in the Skype scandal.