Cult Leader Jailed for 10 YearsKoffels
Institutional Sexual Abuse
Many of the assault victims that Koffels Solicitors & Barristers see professionally through our offices and on a daily basis have been victims of institutional sexual abuse. That having been said; we are also well aware that any predatory behaviour indulged in by the perpetrators of these crimes can occur within any and every forum. Institutional sexual abuse is only one arena where we see child sexual abuse. Other locations such as private and public schools, abuse in the defence force, churches, swimming pools and sporting events are just a few examples of previous cases we have seen.
Recently a cult leader by the name of James Gino Salerno was jailed for 10 years. He was found guilty for the abuse of a teenage girl in Adelaide. Although this is not strictly institutional sexual abuse by definition, the crimes did occur in a similar setting. One definition of institutional sexual abuse is, “when a perpetrator engages in sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, or indecent contact with an inmate, detainee, patient or resident.”
Cult Leader Jailed for 10 Years
James Gino Salerno, 72 also also known by his followers as the Taipan. He was the leader of an Australian cult who had the dreamed of creating the “ideal human environment”. He pleaded guilty in the South Australian District Court. In essence, he was found guilty of eight counts of unlawful sexual intercourse. This is one example of how institutional sexual abuse can take many forms. The cult was originally based in the historic mansion at Aldgate in Adelaide Hills and consisted of around 30 members. It later moved to Beaudesert in south east Queensland and is now based in Kununurra in Western Australia’s northwest. They would hold regular group meetings. During these meetings they would dress in white and commonly say “praise Taipan” while discussing ideas around the notion of the “ideal human environment” and “paradigm shifts”.
District Court Judge Paul Slattery sentenced Salerno to 10 years in prison with a non-parole period of eight years. In handing down his sentence, Judge Slattery said Salerno groomed his victim and sexually abused her over a two-and-a-half-year period.
Salerno has denied he committed the offending and has launched an appeal against his convictions. “To this day you have maintained your innocence and shown no contrition for your actions,” Judge Slattery said.
The court heard that women in the group were submissive to men. Additionally they were required to tend to Salerno’s every need. The group of women chosen to serve Salerno were required to perform “healings” on him. This included but was not limited to massages, cutting his nails, running his baths and cooking his meals.
The court also heard that the members of the group who were deemed to have a lower emotional quotient were treated like “shit kickers” and would have to salute higher-ranked members. The rankings were decided at the group’s meetings. If someone wanted to move up a rank, a subgroup called the “Wisdom Bank” would vote on it. The victim told the court that those who believed Taipan was God and carried out what he wanted were ranked higher in the group.
During the pre-sentencing hearing early in July of this year, the court was told by the victim that the crimes committed against her had destroyed her childhood. “I felt like I was being brainwashed, belittled and isolated,” she said.
“I feel ashamed, upset and hurt that I let Taipan treat me like I was nothing and that I didn’t have the courage to stand up to him sooner.”