NSW Police on Tuesday arrested Ben Shields, former mayor of Dubbo, for allegedly sexually assaulting an 18-year-old man around two decades ago.
Trigger Warning: This story discusses a sexual assault, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
Shields was produced before a local court and was released on conditional bail. He is due to appear before the court on August 22, 2022.
Police Investigate After Victim Lodges Complaint In 2021
The allegation dates back to January 2003 when Shields was a 22-year-old councillor. Shields is alleged to have sexually assaulted the 18–year-old man known to him.
The NSW police had started investigations after the victim came forward in November 2021 and lodged a complaint with the Orana Mid Western Police District.
Shields had resigned from the council in May 2021. In March that year, he had attempted to take his own life citing the infighting in the council. Shields was found unconscious at home by his partner and a friend and rushed to hospital where he was placed in an induced coma for a week and had to undergo emergency surgery.
Shields was elected to the council for the first time at the age of 18. He was appointed mayor in 2017.
If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.
For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14
For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.