Doorstop Interview with Brigadier David Luhrs, Commandant of the Royal Military College, at Royal Military College Duntroon
7 April 2012
TRANSCRIPT: DOORSTOP INTERVIEW WITH BRIGADIER DAVID LUHRS, COMMANDANT OF THE ROYAL MILITARY COLLEGE, AT ROYAL MILITARY COLLEGE DUNTROON
TRANSCRIPTION: PROOF COPY E & OE
DATE: 7 April 2012
TOPICS: Alleged sexual assault at Royal Military College Duntroon
BRIGADIER DAVID LUHRS: Good morning ladies and gents. My name is Brigadier Dave Luhrs. I'm the Commandant of the Royal Military College Duntroon.
The AFP attended RMC at 3 o'clock in the morning on 5 April in response to a report of an alleged sexual assault made by a young lady living in the private residences here at Duntroon. Between 4.30 and 5.30 a.m. the AFP located and were accompanied from his private residence here on Duntroon by a man who later that afternoon was charged with two counts of sexual intercourse without consent.
I've directed that the full support of Army and the Royal Military College be placed behind those persons involved in this incident, and they are receiving every support that we have available. That will continue for as long as required or desired by the people involved in this incident.
Now, without making any judgement in this case, I can't be any clearer when I say that the behaviour that's alleged to have taken place in this circumstance is completely abhorrent to me personally and entirely at odds with the values and the standards of behaviour that I demand here at the Royal Military College, and more importantly, that Army demands of its future leaders.
In addition to Army's values of courage, initiative and teamwork, this college fosters qualities such as respect, honesty, compassion, trust and fairness. Behaviour such as what's been alleged in this circumstance falls well outside of that frame, and because it falls well outside that frame, I have a zero tolerance for it. It's the type of behaviour for which transgressors will be dealt with by civil authorities, and will also feel the full weight of my authority and that of the Defence Force Discipline Act.
Now as the commandant of this college, I am now focused on providing all the support possible and available to the people involved in this incident - that is, all parties involved - as my highest priority. My next most pressing priority is to continue to support and ensure the safety, health and welfare of the 390 fine young men and women who continue to train here at the Royal Military College to become Army's next generation of leaders.
I'm entirely confident and completely comfortable that I have the full support of the senior leadership as I go about fulfilling those responsibilities from now on. Ladies and gentlemen, that's the end of my statement and I'd be very happy to take some questions if you have them.
REPORTER: Brigadier, the 23-year-old that has been charged, was he an officer cadet here? What position did have at the Royal Military College?
BRIGADIER DAVID LUHRS: He is a cadet here at the Royal Military College.
REPORTER: And the alleged victim, is she also a cadet?
BRIGADIER DAVID LUHRS: I think there are some issues of sensitivity here I need to respect and I think that we need to respect, and I'd prefer not to go into the specific nature of the alleged victim.
REPORTER: What year is the cadet in?
BRIGADIER DAVID LUHRS: The cadet is in second class, about half way through training here at the college.
REPORTER: And is he facing discipline from the Army as well as facing civilian charges, but is he currently facing a charge under the DFDA?
BRIGADIER DAVID LUHRS: At the moment the AFP, Australian Federal Police, have the lead on civil charges against this member, and that's where the formal disciplinary action rests at the moment - with the AFP in the lead. What I have the lead on and what I am continuing to execute is the support that is being provided to all the parties involved.
REPORTER: So he's not facing any charges at the moment?
BRIGADIER DAVID LUHRS: At the moment the charges that he faces are those that have been made by the Australian Federal Police and will be dealt with through the court system.
REPORTER: What was he like as an officer cadet?
BRIGADIER DAVID LUHRS: I think it's best if I don't go into any of those sorts of details, as the matter is still with the courts.
REPORTER: Do you have any concerns for the security of, you know, females who are living and working here, in terms of the allegations here that have been raised here, in terms of that person's [indistinct]?
BRIGADIER DAVID LUHRS: No, I don't have any concerns for that. The Royal Military College has a firm and strong standard of behaviour, and I do not tolerate the sorts of behaviour that's alleged in this circumstance, and the 390 fine young Australian and international men and women who are training here at the college exemplify those standards.
REPORTER: He's got bail - will he still be coming to RMC to train, or what will happen to him while these charges are pending?
BRIGADIER DAVID LUHRS: Those decisions will be made by me over the coming days, as to how the man involved is dealt with from here on in; and there is a lot of consideration and sensitivities and complexities that I will take into account as I make those decisions.
REPORTER: So he will be confined to barracks or something?
BRIGADIER DAVID LUHRS: As I said, I'll make those decisions over the coming days. If there's one more question?
All right, thanks very much ladies and gents.
Defence Media Operations 02 6127 1999