'Dootch' Kennedy steps down as Illawarra land council chairman

Roy ‘‘Dootch’’ Kennedy has stepped down as chairman of the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council, after child sex charges were brought against him.

Speaking after a land council meeting held in Wollongong on Wednesday night, acting chief executive Sharralyn Robinson said the board had unanimously voted to accept the activist’s resignation ‘‘in the interests of the land council’’.

Kennedy, a founder of the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy, was charged last month with having sexual intercourse with a child aged between 10 and 16 on six separate occasions between 1992 and 1996.

Police allege he also sexually assaulted a child at different times between 1997 and 1999.

NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act registrar Stephen Wright and NSW Aboriginal Affairs Minister Victor Dominello had since called on Kennedy to relinquish his chairmanship of the land council.

Ms Robinson said Kennedy did not attend Wednesday night’s meeting and would remain as a board member while his charges were before the courts.

‘‘The board are very sad, he’s been a very strong and powerful chairperson of this land council,’’ she said.

Kennedy is due to reappear in court next month.

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