EXCLUSIVE: The shady Paladin company tasked with providing security and basic services to refugees stuck on Manus Island is now involved in an another controversy, with claims it ignored complaints from its own employees about an Australian guard sexually assaulting other staff. That guard – Terry Geddes – is now in a small Manus Island jail cell after PNG police stepped in, angered by the company’s lack of action.
59-year-old Brisbane man, Terry Shane Geddes, is behind bars in PNG tonight after being arrested this week over the sexual assault of a 31-year-old local woman.
True Crime News Weekly can exclusively reveal the first image of Geddes in jail after he was arrested on Wednesday, April 3.
Geddes, who is employed by Paladin as security supervisor, is alleged to have squeezed the bottom of a female colleague on Thursday, March 21 while she was helping serve dinner to other staff at the Seadler Bay Hotel. The incident occurred while Geddes was in the queue waiting to be served, and witnesses allegedly saw Geddes groping the woman.
It has been alleged by the victim that her bosses at Paladin ignored her complaints and took no action against Geddes despite immediately reporting the incident to management.
According to Manus Island police provincial commander, David Yapu, the victim was walking by Geddes when he attacker her.
“The victim walked by and he (the accused) held her bum and squeezed it very tightly … She was embarrassed as colleagues saw what happened,” Yapu told a local PNG newspaper.
“She reported the incident immediately to the Paladin management who took no action, so yesterday morning (Wednesday), still embarrassed, she reported the matter to police and in the afternoon he was picked up and locked up.
“He didn’t appear today (Thursday) at committal court because no magistrate was available as they are all attending a workshop in Port Moresby.
“Geddes has been refused bail and will be in police custody until Monday when the magistrate returns.”
There are other reports that Geddes may also soon be charged with sexually assaulting another female colleague, but police are yet to speak to the victim.
Paladin is currently facing investigation by Australia’s auditor-general after media investigations earlier this year – including by True Crime News Weekly – highlighted possible questionable contracts awarded to the company without tender by the secretive and powerful Home Affairs department run by Peter Dutton.
It is believed almost half a billion dollars has been given to Paladin, with claims that almost 90 per cent of that money has not been spent on providing services to refugees but instead funneled into opaque financial accounts through Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland.
Shockingly, this isn’t the first time Geddes has been in significant trouble on Manus.
According to refugees, Geddes is actually well-known to them having previously been sacked in 2014 by the then detention company G4S, over his mistreatment of asylum seekers in late 2013.
The current criminal case involving Geddes is an important one.
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Back in September 2015, the Australian Government helped three Australian expats fly out of PNG to avoid charges over the alleged rape of a local woman working at the Lombrum refugee detention centre.
All three men had been working as security guards for Wilson Security. Local authorities at the time were assured by the Australian Government that the men would eventually return. They never have, leaving police in PNG and the victim’s family in uproar.
This time, PNG police have confiscated Geddes’ passport, with bail for the security guard to be decided by Monday, April 8 when he faces the Lorengau Committal Court for the first time.
A spokesperson for Paladin has told True Crime News Weekly it will fully cooperate with the police investigation.
“As you can you appreciate, Paladin are not in a position to comment on this specific incident as per the terms of our contract with the Department of Home Affairs,” the company said in an emailed statement.
“Paladin have continued to keep the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian High Commission in Papua New Guinea informed and have written to the Manus Provincial Police Commander to keep him updated on this matter and request further detail on this investigation.”
The spokesperson added that Paladin was committed to the highest standards of behaviour and ethical practices.
“Any incident or event that falls below these standards is of deep concern to Paladin and we take any allegation of behaviour that doesn’t meet our high standards very seriously as we have demonstrated throughout our work on Manus Island,” the spokesperson said.
On Monday, April 8 – a few days after this story was published – a spokesperson for the Home Affairs department told True Crime News Weekly they would not be commenting on the arrest.
“This is a matter for the Royal PNG Constabulary,” the spokesperson said.
However, a few hour later, a spokesperson for the department got back in contact to add further comments.
“If allegations are substantiated, the Department may, at its sole discretion, give notice to service providers to remove personnel from work in respect of the services provided under the contract,” the spokesperson said.
“This is the case for any instance where there is breach of contract or where the Department determines that individuals have breached the applicable code of conduct.”
True Crime News Weekly has also contacted Manus Island police for further comment.
Feature Image: Terry Geddes in a PNG jail cell (Supplied)