Hundreds petition to stop cult leader and paedophile 'Little Pebble' from returning to live on NSW South Coast

ABC News, Australia/April 6, 2021

By Ainslie Drewitt-Smith

Hundreds of residents on the New South Wales South Coast are calling for a convicted paedophile and cult leader to be prevented from returning to live in the region.

William Costellia-Kamm – also known as "Little Pebble" – is the founder of a sect he calls the Order of Saint Charbel and claims to be a prophet who speaks directly to Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.

The 70-year-old was convicted of sexually assaulting two teenagers he referred to as his "spiritual wives" in the 1990s and had been living in Sydney since he was paroled in 2014 having served more than nine years of his 10-year prison sentence.

Late last week he was granted permission by the NSW Supreme Court to return to his commune at Cambewarra, in the Shoalhaven region.

"The risk which the conditions need to manage is the risk of further serious sex offending," Justice Stephen Campbell said.

"It seems to me, given the stringency of the conditions which are proposed, including electronic monitoring — the risk I have found the defendant poses can be adequately managed, even if he is at Cambewarra."

Justice Campbell ordered Kamm to provide the necessary keys and access codes to the commune to allow for ongoing monitoring and said he would not be permitted "to sign any lease of any of the residences at Cambewarra".

Kamm continues to deny his crimes and claims he was falsely accused.

'Puts children at risk'

An online petition signed by hundreds of residents cited concerns Kamm could reoffend and requested political intervention to have his access to the region denied.

"I live in the town that this man is from," signatory Cathy Corkett commented on the petition.

"Our community does not welcome him coming back here and potentially reoffending again.

Another signatory, Tameka Giddings, said the community needed to protect its children.

"All children have a right to feel safe in their community and allowing this man into our community puts our children at risk," she said.

'Beyond belief'

The community's pleas have been backed by NSW Cabinet Minister and South Coast MP Shelley Hancock, who said convicted child sex offenders like Kamm should not be allowed to return to live in the communities where their crimes were committed.

"In my view there has to be some reform to the law whereby an offender such as this can never come anywhere near this community again," Ms Hancock said.

"To return this person to Cambewarra is just beyond belief — I'm outraged.

"We cannot abide people like this coming back to live amongst us.

"They shouldn't even be free, quite frankly — they should still be behind bars."

Ms Hancock encouraged her constituents to continue signing the petition.

Her stance was supported by the federal Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips.

"This has been horrific for decades for people in this area and I can understand the absolute worry about William Kamm returning to the Shoalhaven," Ms Phillips said.

Both local representatives said they would write to NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman and Premier Gladys Berejiklian to seek assistance on appealing the decision.

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