A 16-year-old youth has been charged with the rape of a four-year-old boy in a remote Northern Territory desert community.
The boy was flown about 380km by the Royal Flying Doctor Service from Ali Curung to Alice Springs Hospital on Sunday night and was in a stable condition.
Ali Curung is about 170km south of Tennant Creek, where a two-year-old girl was allegedly raped on February 15.
The four-year-old boy was allegedly sexually assaulted behind Ali Curung’s Baptist Church on Sunday evening, the NT News has reported.
A police spokesperson said on Tuesday: ‘A 16-year-old male has been charged with sexual intercourse without consent and will appear in Alice Springs Youth Court today.’
NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the latest incident would be referred to the Children’s Commissioner and extra staff from Territory Families had been sent to Ali Curung.
A boy has allegedly been raped in remote desert community Ali Curung, Northern Territory
Ali Curung (pictured) had a population of 494 at the 2016 Census; 93 per cent were indigenous
Ali Curung, where a four-year-old boy was allegedly raped, is 170km south of Tennant Creek
Ali Curung (pictured) in the Northern Territory has long had trouble with alcohol and violence
‘I’m aware of an alleged sexual assault of a child in Ali Curung,’ Mr Gunner said.
‘This is an extremely disturbing incident. Every child, no matter where they live, deserves to be in a safe environment.’
Police confirmed on Monday night they had arrested ‘a youth’ following investigations into the alleged sexual assault of the four-year-old.
‘Police from the Northern Territory Child Abuse Taskforce are investigating the alleged sexual assault of a child in a remote Northern Territory community,’ a spokesperson said.
‘A youth is currently in custody and is assisting police with their inquiries.’
The spokesperson said no one else was being sought in relation to the alleged rape of the four-year-old.
Ali Curung has a population of about 500, almost all of whom are indigenous, and is part of the Barkly Regional Council area which also takes in Tennant Creek.
Barkly mayor Steve Edgington met Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion on Tuesday to discuss issues including Ali Curung and alcohol restrictions in Tennant Creek.
Ali Curung has historically had major problems with alcohol consumption and crime.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service flew the four-year-old boy to Alice Springs Hospital on Sunday
The road from the Stuart Highway into Ali Curung, about 170km south of Tennant Creek
Ali Curung and Tennant Creek (pictured) have long had serious problems with alcohol
Two small children have been reported as having been raped in the Northern Territory this year
Barkly Regional Council chief executive Edwina Marks said in 2015: ‘It’s the same thing, extraordinary consumption of alcohol. There’s a lot of anti-social behaviour.’
‘People are leaving their kids and going off and buying grog at 10am. People desert their family life.’
Restrictions on alcohol sale and consumption have since been tightened.
Alcohol consumption is also restricted in Tennant Creek, where a 24-year-old man has been charged with sexual assault and refused bail over the incident in February.
In that case the alleged victim was flown to Alice Springs Hospital before being rushed to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, where she was placed in an induced coma due to the severity of her injuries.
Her parents are understood to have troubled pasts and are known to be heavy drinkers.
The Northern Territory Government has admitted it failed to protect the girl.
Tennant Creek has a population of 3,000, one supermarket and 10 main alcohol retailers, including three clubs, two pubs, three bottle shops and two licensed motels.
This two-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a man, 24, in a house at Tennant Creek last month
Tennant Creek (pictured) has a population of about 3,000 and 10 main alcohol retailers
Crime statistics showed in the year ending December 31, 2017 there were 319 assaults – more than one for every 10 Tennant Creek citizens – and 13 sexual assaults.
Domestic violence-related assaults had risen 32.7 per cent to 264 in the same period and alcohol-related assaults rose 21.9 per cent to 256 incidents.
A dispute involving a number of people in a house on Bornite Street on February 6 allegedly led to the death of a 44-year-man 10 days later.
Northern Territory Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw told reporters in February that Tennant Creek was ‘probably the highest policed population in Australia.’
Tennant Creek is the fifth largest town in the Northern Territory with a population of 2991 at the 2016 Census. Slightly more than half its residents – 1536 – are indigenous.
The town is on the Stuart Highway, about 1,000km south of Darwin and 500km north of Alice Springs.
The alleged rape victim was taken to Alice Springs Hospital (pictured) 380km from Ali Curung
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