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Gareth Ward has been charged over allegations of sexual violence against a 17-year-old boy and a 27-year-old man.
The 40-year-old legally-blind albino New South Wales MP for Kiama has denied any wrongdoing and was granted bail on Tuesday.
The former Families Minister under Gladys Berejiklian stood down from Cabinet last year after it was revealed he was the subject of police investigation.
NSW Families Minister Gareth Ward has stood aside after confirming he is under investigation by detectives over violent sex offences that allegedly occurred in 2013
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (left) is pictured with embattled MP Gareth Ward (right)
Detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad in May established Strike Force Condello to investigate the allegations.
Following extensive inquiries, the politician was charged at Oak Flats Police Station in Illawarra at about midday.
‘He has since been charged with three counts of assault with act of indecency, and one count each of sexual intercourse without consent and common assault,’ Police said in a statement.
‘Police will allege in court that the man 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 alleged sexual assault of the teen boy allegedly took place at Mr Ward’s home in the Illawarra when the moderate faction heavyweight was highly involved with the Young Liberals.
Left: Mr Ward on his first day of school. Right: Mr Ward pictured with former Shoalhaven mayor Paul Green
The other charge is thought to have occurred in a hotel room.
Mr Ward is due to appear at Port Kembla Local Court on Wednesday 18 May with the charge of sexual intercourse without consent carrying a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.
When the embattled MP announced he was stepping aside from his ministerial role, Mr Ward vehemently rejected the accusation.
‘I deny any wrongdoing,’ he said.
‘Until this matter is resolved, it is appropriate I stand aside from my role as minister. I will also remove myself from the Liberal Party room.
‘I will not be making any further comment at this time.’
Mr Ward spray-tanned his whole body for Wollongong radio station Wave-FM on the condition listeners helped the station raise more than $1,000 for Surf Life Saving South Coast
‘I deny any wrongdoing,’ Mr Ward (pictured with his mother Margaret Bowcher) said.
Mr Ward was elected to state parliament in the 2011 election following a stint on a local council on the South Coast.
He infamously hit headlines in 2017 when he fell victim to a ‘terrifying’ blackmail attempt in the US after he rang an escort service in New York to order what he described as a ‘normal massage’ after a long day sightseeing.
But instead of the masseur he expected, two men showed up and demanded $1,000 in cash.
CCTV footage showed him in the lift with the men moments before he went to a concierge desk for help, prompting them to run away.
Despite the bizarre incident, he went on to become a factional ally of the Premier Berejiklian and was appointed to the ministry in 2019.
As the Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, he was responsible for the state’s 17,000 children in care until yesterday.
But in 2020, Mr Ward made the news again after being found naked outside King’s Cross apartment after becoming disorientated following surgery.