Colt clan incest case

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The Colt family incest case, dubbed by media as the Colt incest clan, is an Australian family discovered in 2012 to have been engaging in four generations of incest beginning with "Tim and June Colt," a brother and sister who emigrated from New Zealand in the 1970s.[1] The family grew to nearly 40 members ranging from grandparents to mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, nephews, brothers and sisters all engaging in various forms of incest. Many of the children suffered from deformities and medical problems. The case has been described by lead investigator Peter Yeomans as, "like nothing I've ever seen," and was considered by many to be so shocking that in a rare move the New South Wales Children's Court allowed full details to be made public, albeit with all names changed to pseudonyms for the children's protection, including the family name of "Colt."[2][3][better source needed]

They all lived on a farm near Boorowa, New South Wales (NSW) according to NSW law case notes.

Background[edit]

In the first half of the 20th century, "June and Tim Colt" lived in New Zealand. In 1966, June, the product of brother-sister incest, and Tim married and had seven children together: Martha, Frank, Paula, Cherry, Rhonda, Betty, and Charlie, before moving to Victoria in the 1970s.

After the death of June and Tim, The family was led by Betty Colt along with her brother Charlie Colt who, together, had 12 children.[4] The family was known to frequently relocate before locals became suspicious. They relocated to New South Wales, 30 kilometers outside of a small town three and a half hours southwest of Sydney.[5] The police ultimately discovered nearly 40 members of the family living under squalid conditions in tents and shacks.[6]

Investigation[edit]

Knowledge of the family came to authorities in June 2010, which led to seven "risk of significant harm reports" being reported. However, an official investigation was not opened until July 2012 when a child reported overhearing another child at a local primary school speaking of an unkempt girl, living in the bush, who was pregnant with a child fathered by a brother. The child overheard the girl state that one of her sisters was pregnant and they did not know which of her brothers was the father.[7]

Over the next year police tracked the family down and put several children in foster care including Bobby (Betty's son with her brother) and Billy (Betty's son/grandson). Police discovered the living area of 38 members of the family in the bush located on the outskirts of New South Wales. Children and adults had regularly engaged in sexual activities, resulting in children, some with genetic deformities. They had no access to running water, showers, toilets or hygiene products. Most of the children had fungal infections. The Colts were charged with incest and child neglect.[8]

Betty Colt legally disputed the charges and attempted to regain custody. After tracking the cellular activities of Betty, police discovered text messages of a sexual nature sent to her son, Bobby. She and Bobby had made plans to abduct Billy from foster care. Genetic testing showed that Bobby was the product of incest between Betty and a father or full brother.[9]

The case has been described as unique because of the reluctance of the victims to come forward.[5] It has been said that there are difficulties in determining the guilt of particular offenders, due to their behaviour existing on a moral continuum and the law being dichotomous in nature, being an 'absolute concept'. Therefore, even though the victims may have actually consented to the relationships, the law still deems it as criminal.[10]

The Children's Court of New South Wales took the unusual step of publishing their decision permanently removing the children.[8] In the court's findings, the neglect of the children and genetic evidence were viewed as dispositive in the matter, holding, "There is no realistic possibility of restoration of any of the children [to their biological family]."[11]

Later issues[edit]

A number of attempts by the elder family members to establish connections with the younger have been blocked by the courts.[12]

Australian police attempted to deport Betty to New Zealand, the country of her birth, after the completion of her sentence, but Betty fought the deportation.[13][14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The secret life inside the depraved family who live in the hills of a quiet country town". News.com.au. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  2. ^ Richard Shears (13 December 2013). "Incest 'cult' found in scenic Australian valley cut animals' genitals". Daily Mail. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Taylor Auerbach. "Colt clan incest case 'like nothing I've ever seen', says top cop". Daily Mail. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  4. ^ O'Carroll, Sinead (11 December 2013). "Australia shocked by extreme case of incest, sex abuse and child neglect". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Julian Morgans (17 December 2013). "Why is Australia's Incest Cult so Shocking?". Vice. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  6. ^ "'Incest' matriarch's lifestyle". skynews.com.au. Australian Associated Press. 6 November 2014. Archived from the original on 26 November 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  7. ^ Andrew Koubaridis (3 November 2014). "'Incest' mum Betty Colt jailed for attempted kidnapping of her children". NewsComAu. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Rourke, Alison (12 December 2013). "Australia incest case shocks country". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  9. ^ Candace Sutton (2 November 2014). "Incest family matriarch faces court for trying to kidnap her sons". Daily Mail. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  10. ^ "Roffee, James (2015). When Yes Actually Means Yes in Rape Justice. 72 – 91". Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. 
  11. ^ "DFaCS (NSW) and the Colt Children [2013] NSWChC 5". Children's Court of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 10 April 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015. 
  12. ^ "Colt incest family: Exclusive - police to serve AVOs in notorious incest case". news.com.au. 
  13. ^ "Mother of abused children 'Betty Colt' to be deported to New Zealand". Stuff. 
  14. ^ "Minister awaiting deportation briefing". odt.co.nz. 20 October 2015.