News State NSW News NSW MP charged with historic sex abuse
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NSW MP charged with historic sex abuse

Gareth Ward
NSW MP Gareth Ward resigned from cabinet and moved to the cross bench last May. Photo: AAP
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NSW MP and former Liberal minister Gareth Ward has been charged over the alleged historic sexual abuse of a teenage boy and a man.

The 40-year-old was on Tuesday charged with three counts of assault with an act of indecency, and one count each of sexual intercourse without consent and common assault.

NSW Police will allege he indecently assaulted a 17-year-old boy at Meroo Meadow in February 2013, and sexually abused a 27-year-old man in Sydney in September 2015.

The NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, who is on paternity leave, immediately called for Mr Ward to resign from parliament, and said he would take steps to remove him if he did not.

“While Mr Ward is entitled to the presumption of innocence, as any citizen is, the standards expected of an elected member of Parliament are not compatible with the seriousness of the charges he is facing,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Following discussion with the Acting Premier, I have therefore attempted to contact the Kiama MP to seek his resignation from the parliament with immediate effect.

“Should Mr Ward not resign, the government will move a motion to remove him from the parliament.”

A strike force was established in May last year to investigate allegations of sexual violence committed by the Kiama MP, which included NSW detectives from the State Crime Command’s Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad.

Mr Ward stepped aside as families, communities and disability services minister in May after identifying himself as the politician under investigation for “sexual violence-related offences” dating back eight years.

He also recused himself from the Liberal Party room and moved to the crossbench, but denied the allegations.

Mr Ward was granted conditional bail and will appear at Port Kembla Local Court on Wednesday May 18.

Mr Perrottet said the charges came after an extensive investigation by police and a review of the matter by the Department of Public Prosecutions.

“I have also written to the state director of the Liberal Party requesting that Mr Ward be suspended from the party pending the outcome of the criminal trial against him,” he said.

“Mr Ward is entitled to defend himself against the serious charges against him but he must do that as a private citizen.”

Mr Perrottet said he could not comment further as the case had gone before the courts.

Mr Ward has been contacted for comment.

– AAP