Child sex charges: Roy 'Dootch' Kennedy under pressure to resign

The board of the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council has been officially advised to remove Roy "Dootch" Kennedy as its chairman after he was charged with child sex offences

Mr Kennedy, a prominent activist and founder of the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy, appeared in Wollongong court late last week on nine charges, including having sexual intercourse with a child aged between 10 and 16 on six separate occasions between 1992 and 1996.

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

The registrar of the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act, Stephen Wright, is advising the land council that Mr Kennedy can remain as a board member, but should step down as chairman.

Mr Wright told Fairfax Media there was no prohibition under the act on someone holding office while facing criminal charges.

"What we're dealing with is horrendous allegations, not crimes," he said.

Mr Kennedy did not enter a plea to any of the charges and was released on bail on condition he continue to live at the tent embassy.

He is due to appear in court again in April.

A number of local Aboriginal community members have said Mr Kennedy must step down as chairman while he faces the charges.

"Everybody's thinking along the same lines," one traditional custodian of the area, who asked not to be named, said.

"He shouldn't be holding that position until it's all cleared up."

Another community member said: "Personally - I'm a voting member of the land council - I think it's entirely inappropriate."

A spokesman for the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, which oversees local groups, said he could not comment as the matter was before the court.

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