An internal investigation is under way into why police failed to act on a series of sexually offensive phone calls made by Fairy Meadow parolee Anthony Peter Sampieri in the weeks before his behaviour allegedly escalated to child rape.
Police have revealed they identified the convicted sex offender as the source of several disturbing calls, with at least one woman making a complaint at Kogarah Police Station as recently as late last month.
He was interviewed, but never charged, according to NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Field Operations, Jeff Loy.
In a misstep now under under intense scrutiny, police did not share information with corrective services officers who likely would have considered the phone calls a breach of the 54-year-old’s parole.
Sampieri spent almost five years behind bars for the rape of a 60-year-old woman who he lured into his Elliotts Road, Fairy Meadow home in October 2012. Court documents reveal that attack was the culmination of a drug-fueled “sex binge” for Sampieri, who had been blitzing women with sexually explicit phone calls for at least two weeks in the lead-up.
Released on September 7 last year, Sampieri remained at liberty until Thursday night, when he walked into a Kogarah dance studio bathroom and allegedly molested a stranger’s seven-year-old child.
On Wednesday Mr Loy told reporters he had ordered an internal inquiry to find out why Sampieri wasn’t charged over the recent calls, and why police didn’t report his parole breaches to corrective services.
“Nobody can predict the future or the future actions of any person, but what a police officer has the responsibility to do is to take [into consideration] the risk factors at hand, the information of the offender, what the victim’s desires are … and make some diligent decisions in relation to that.
“The investigation should not take long,” he said, adding the officer involved deserved procedural fairness.
“We do stand by police who make mistakes, but really this particular crime itself is an abhorrent crime …”
Mr Loy said he had been in contact with the child’s mother and father.
“They are very brave people and they really want to get their lives back to normal.”
Mr Loy said police had received complaints from multiple women who were thought to have recently been contacted by Sampieri. Police are urging anyone who may have received a call to contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers.
Police minister Troy Grant has expressed horror at the alleged attack and has vowed to hold the force to account.
“Victims should be able to have confidence that when they contact police their concerns will be taken seriously. The initial indications are that police could have done more, and if that is the case, I’ll expect swift action to be taken,” he said.
”The community rightly expects police to operate to the highest standards, and when that standard isn’t met their actions should be scrutinised.”
The minister added: “Like the rest of the community I was shocked when I learned what had happened. As a father, I can’t imagine the horror [the girl’s parents] must be going through”.
Police have formed Strike Force Howelston to investigate the allegations of Thursday night.
Sampieri remains under guard at St George Hospital after a Good Samaritan allegedly caught him naked in a dance school toilet cubicle, in the process of interfering with a child.
The Mercury understands he was injured by a man who intervened, and is also suffering a pre-existing health condition.