This follows an Otago Daily Times investigation which found that Dwayne Keats, 47, a parolee rapist, was employed by him in Dunedin in 2017 when he sexually assaulted another woman.
He was jailed for 15 years, with a minimum non-parole period of eight years, when he was sentenced by the Dunedin High Court earlier this month, narrowly avoiding an indefinite prison sentence.
The Salvation Army has confirmed that they are aware of Keats’ troubling story and that the decision to give him a job as a volunteer van driver was made locally rather than being referred to regional offices and national as required by the protocol.
This week, the organization confirmed that Jason Wales had been a “long-time employee” at a Christchurch store before discovering he had been jailed for nearly four years for treating a 15-year-old girl in a salon. discussion and meeting her for sex.
He was also convicted of possession of child pornography.
Her former partner Stacey (not her real name) told the Otago Daily Times that she suspected Wales of cheating on her.
She was happy to see him locked up in 2008.
Last year, however, Stacey was amazed to see him pose for a photo in a community flyer as the Salvation Army’s “Furniture Store Team Leader”.
“Shopping at a family store is more like coming to see family than going to a store,” Wales said in the interview.
But the buyers and the association had no idea of her dark history until Stacey emailed her.
The charity’s National Director for Addiction Services, Supportive Housing and Rehabilitation Services, Lynette Hutson, blamed the oversight on the fact that Wales had spent many years working there, likely before the protocols of current jobs.
He was entangled in a non-public role and closely watched until his departure by “mutual decision” last year, she said.
Ms Hutson pointed out that there had been no complaints about her behavior during her tenure.
Last week, the Salvation Army confirmed that it had launched an independent investigation into the Keats fiasco.
He would explain how the dangerous predator slipped through the net and how best to prevent it from happening again.
“It absolutely needs to be prevented from happening again. I can’t talk about it loud enough,” Ms. Hutson said.
Keats was employed on the grounds that he had no contact with the public and that the survey would assess how many contacts he had with the community as a whole.
Two sources have since confirmed to the ODT that as a driver, the rapist spent his days picking up furniture and other items from donors in the region.
A former colleague said he saw Keats ‘manipulating’ the potential victim of his crime and was shocked later to learn of the extent of his crimes.
“As far as I’m concerned, the Sallies need to apologize… They put her in danger,” he said.
“They let him enter the houses. How many people have they put in danger?
Ms Hutson was unsure whether Keats’ victim received an official Salvation Army apology, but said she certainly deserved one.
“We don’t want to sweep it under the rug.
“It is painful and as it is, we want to face it and say that we are deeply sorry and will do our best to make sure it never happens again,” she said.
Despite the two cases, Ms. Hutson did not believe there were systemic failures within the organization.
“We can only express to the public our deepest regrets and our absolute commitment to strengthen the processes,” she said.
The independent investigation is due to end next month.