Former Liberal minister and Independent NSW member of Parliament Gareth Ward (40) was on Tuesday charged over alleged historic allegations of sexual abuse of a man and a teenage boy.
Ward, member for Kiama, attended Oak Flats Police Station on Tuesday. The NSW police charged him “with three counts of assault with act of indecency, and one count each of sexual intercourse without consent and common assault”.
The police case is that Ward allegedly indecently assaulted a 17-year-old teenage boy at Meroo Meadow in February 2013, and sexually abused a 27-year-old man in Sydney in September 2015.
‘I Am Innocent’, Claims MP
In a statement, Ward said, “I am innocent and I intend to prove it. I have instructed my lawyers to use every available procedural avenue to bring this matter to trial as quickly as possible.”
“There is much more I would like to say but on the strict advice of my lawyers and out of respect for our system of justice, I will not be making any further comment at this time,” Ward added.
Strike Force Condello
In May 2021, the NSW Police had said that they were investigating a “39-year-old man” who was reported to be a member of NSW parliament. Last year, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad had established ‘Strike Force Condello’ to investigate allegations of sexual violence.
Ward who was then the Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services identified himself as the person who was being investigated. He resigned from the government and moved to the crossbench.
Ward has been a member of the NSW Legislative Assembly for over a decade.