9 Aug 2011

Australian naval officer guilty of sexual abuse of boys in Kiribati in late 90s

9:23 pm on 9 August 2011

An Australian naval officer has been found guilty of sexually abusing four boys while serving in Kiribati.

A Brisbane Supreme Court jury on Monday convicted 64 year old Johannes Zweerus Van Der Zyden, on eight counts of sexual conduct with a child under 16 years, and seven of sexual intercourse with a child under 16.

The offences occurred between February 1997 and January 1999 when Van Der Zyden, then a lieutenant commander with the Australian Navy, was stationed on an island in the Kiribati archipelago.

During the trial the court heard Van Der Zyden, who was working as a maritime surveillance adviser, fondled and had oral sex with the four boys - then aged between 11 and 15 - several times.

Van Der Zyden has denied any of the offences took place.