Former NSW Labor minister Milton Orkopoulos allegedly plied young boys from “broken homes” with drugs and money to keep them quiet after sexually abusing them in his car, a court has been told.
The 65-year-old is fighting 28 charges in the NSW District Court in relation to four young boys he is accused of sexually abusing between 1993 and 2003 in the areas of Swansea and Caves Beach.
Mr Orkopoulos entered not guilty pleas to nine counts of sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years, seven counts of aggravated indecent assaulting a minor, and committing an indecent act with a minor.
He also pleaded not guilty to eight charges of supplying cannabis to minors and to a charge of doing an act to pervert the course of justice.
During her opening address on Wednesday, Crown prosecutor Kate Dodds told the jury of five women and nine men the first alleged assault took place in 1993.
Milton Orkopoulos has been charged with child sex abuse and drug supply. Picture: Damian Shaw
She said the first alleged victim was between the ages of 11 and 12 when Mr Orkopoulos was in a bathroom as the boy showered.
“He pulled the boy to him and rubbed his penis and testicles,” Ms Dodds said.
The boy was “stunned” and pulled away before Mr Orkopoulos allegedly rubbed his penis over his clothes and slipped his hand into his pants.
Ms Dodds said the boy “left as quickly as he could”.
The boy made a complaint two years later, but the alleged victim was too embarrassed to disclose information to police.
“He was nervous, embarrassed and did not want to tell strangers the accused touched his penis,” Ms Dodds said.
The jury was told the boy was later issued a piece of paper which claimed he made up the allegations against Mr Orkopoulos, but can’t recall whether he signed it.
“The accused said ‘you almost exposed me’ in a later conversation,” Ms Dodds told the jury.
Another boy was aged 12 in 1998 when he alleges Mr Orkopoulos assaulted him.
The court was told the second complainant was an avid skateboarder who approached the then-Lake Macquarie councillor about building a skatepark in the area.
The jury was told the complainant was in Mr Orkopoulos’ car when he allegedly unzipped his pants and pulled out his penis.
Mr Orkopoulos was a member of NSW parliament for seven years.
He allegedly forced the boy to perform oral sex on him before ejaculating into a handkerchief.
“The accused took $50 from his wallet and gave it to him and said, ‘I knew you’d be good at keeping secrets,’” Ms Dodds told the court.
Mr Orkopoulos is alleged to have repeated similar incidents with the boy up to four times, giving him money and cigarettes after each time.
“Afterward as a result of what happened, his life quickly spiralled out of control … he began to rebel, he was expelled and ran away – he has had significant difficulties ever since,” Ms Dodds said.
The third complainant met Mr Orkopoulos when he was 11 or 12 years of age, and thought he was “nice and caring” at first.
The jury was told the boy was coerced into getting into the former politician’s car before they drove to a blocked off area near the Pacific Highway and Mr Orkopoulos allegedly pulled out his penis.
“The complainant will tell you the accused grabbed the back of his head, pushed it down and said ‘suck it’,” the Crown prosecutor said.
“He was shocked and confused, but compliant.”
Following the incident, the jury was told Mr Orkopoulos allegedly said: “Don’t tell anyone, no one will believe you anyway”.
The jury was told the boy allegedly smoked cannabis on two occasions before Mr Orkopoulos had anal sex with him.
Ms Dodds said the three incidents “were not isolated”, with the complainant saying it happened up to eight times, but he could not recall them specifically.
The court was told the final complainant grew up in a “broken home” in a rough area of Swansea and met Mr Orkopoulos when he was aged 14.
The former minister allegedly gave boys drugs and money. Picture: AAP / Bianca De Marchi
The teenager smoked cannabis inside Mr Orkopoulos’ electorate office when he put his hand into the alleged victim’s pants, prompting him to jump up in shock.
The boy later received an envelope with $1000 cash at his home.
A month later the boy went back to the office, where Mr Orkopoulos allegedly gave him another $1000 and drugs before having sex with him.
The jury was told Mr Orkopoulos allegedly had sex with the boy twice more, when he had run out of money and cannabis.
Ms Dodds said the teenager’s life also “went off the rails”.
She told the jury Mr Orkopoulos was a drug user who had “money, status, power, experience and privilege” on his side.
“Many of these boys were young, they did not have life experience, they did not have privilege and many came from broken homes,” Ms Dodds said.
“It is the crown case the accused took advantage of every single one of them.”
Defence barrister Paul Johnson told the jury Mr Orkopoulos strongly denies the allegations.
The court heard the former minister took on “significant” responsibilities when elected to state parliament in late March 1999 and he is at a disadvantage as none of the dates of the alleged incidents are specific.
“He would have had meetings, he would have kept a diary, all of that could be thrown before you but given the lack of specificity, none of that would clarify anything,” Mr Johnson said.
“Mr Orkopoulos is at a disadvantage to create doubt when there’s no certainty as to when it could have happened.”
The trial continues before Judge Jane Culver.