Jekyll and Hyde jail life of disgraced paedo pollie

 

Convicted paedophile and former Labor minister Milton Orkopoulos will soon be released from prison - while still denying his heinous crimes.

Details of his time behind bars have emerged including prison bosses' concerns that he was grooming young prisoners, secretly passing tobacco between inmates, being hostile in therapy sessions and even trying to kill himself months before his parole.

Ironically the former NSW Aboriginal Affairs minister also told prison authorities he was "concerned" about being made to mix with indigenous prisoners after being assaulted by an Aboriginal inmate.

Former Labor MP Milton Orkopoulos leaving his trial at Newcastle District Court in March 2008.
Former Labor MP Milton Orkopoulos leaving his trial at Newcastle District Court in March 2008.

He was a minister in Morris Iemma's government until he was arrested in November 2006 and charged with grooming and sexually assaulting three male victims aged 15 to 20 from 1999 to 2005.

He was jailed in May 2008 for a maximum 13 years and 11 months on 30 charges ranging from child sex to drugging his victims.

Orkopoulos' prison term is now set to end after the State Parole Authority approved his release on December 6.

At the time, the revolting nature of Orkopoulos' crimes made it the biggest story in Australia.

According to the parole reports, Orkopoulos' high profile in the media and the nature of his crimes made him a target for other prisoners and a high suicide risk.

"He was managed by various forms of protection, from non-association (with other prisoners) progressing to limited association, due to concerns for his safety and his public profile at the time of his incarceration," a 2017 report used in his parole hearing said.

It added up to time in isolation and Orkopoulos was assessed as a "chronic risk of future suicide, the report said.

Orkopoulos with wife Kathy and mother Stamatia in 2005. Picture: Waide Maguire
Orkopoulos with wife Kathy and mother Stamatia in 2005. Picture: Waide Maguire

His first placement was at Lithgow jail.

He took a job as a prison sweeper but was sacked from the position after guards caught him exchanging tobacco on behalf of other prisoners.

A 2016 report said he had been threatened by other inmates during his time at Lithgow and was assaulted by an indigenous inmate while in protection at Lithgow. Following that he told prison authorities he was concerned about being with a large amount of indigenous inmates.

Prison authorities were also concerned that Orkopoulos began forming a small network with other, younger, prisoners - some as young as 22.

Orkopoulos after reporting to police at Belmont Police Station to meet his bail reporting conditions.
Orkopoulos after reporting to police at Belmont Police Station to meet his bail reporting conditions.

In 2013, Orkopoulos was transferred to Cooma Jail where he reported being happier because he was out of protective custody and could enjoy the sunshine while mixing with others.

Orkopoulos appeared to be a model prisoner as he studied French, IT and did a library course.

However, prison psychologists noted in group therapy sessions that Orkopoulos was resistant to treatment and still denied many of his crimes.

A forensic police officer removes a seat from Orkopoulos’s electorate office on the Pacific Highway, Swansea.
A forensic police officer removes a seat from Orkopoulos’s electorate office on the Pacific Highway, Swansea.

In 2016, prison authorities said he should not be put in work roles where he could access information that would put him in a position of authority over others - "particularly younger inmates".

"Mr Orkopoulos contributed to group discussions, however, he would dominate group discussions (and) present as arrogant or patronising …" a 2018 psychologist's report used in the parole hearing said.

"He typically responded to feedback by shutting down, being dismissive, use of passive-aggressive communication and on one occasion hostility."

In 2013, Orkopoulos was transferred to Cooma Jail after a stint in Lithgow.
In 2013, Orkopoulos was transferred to Cooma Jail after a stint in Lithgow.

He claimed to psychologists he was sexually repressed after growing up in a Greek household where his father had contempt for homosexuals.

Orkopoulos said he married his wife and used her as a cover to pursue his political career while living a double life as a drug-taking homosexual.

He also claimed to be in such despair at his inability to gain parole that he attempted suicide.

It was September 2018 - 16 months after his earliest possible release date.

Orkopoulos has been granted parole.
Orkopoulos has been granted parole.

The then 61-year-old stopped taking his antidepressant medication and later downed 30 pills, according to a report used in his parole hearing.

"He acknowledged this was an attempt to ease his purported suffering at the time," the report said.

"However … the following day (he woke up) with minimal consequence," the report said.

The former minister's lawyer Omar Juweinat said Mr Orkopoulos had good rehabilitation prospects.

"The authority should be comfortably satisfied that he will abide by any parole order imposed on him for the remainder of his term," he said.

Orkopoulos’s lawyer Omar Juweinat.
Orkopoulos’s lawyer Omar Juweinat.


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