Ex-guard at Australian youth detention centre 'filmed himself asking inmates for oral sex'

Chiara Palazzo
Conan Zamolo testifying during the Royal Commission inquiry into the protection and detention of children i the Northern Territory

A former guard at an Australian youth detention centre currently under inquiry for its treatment of children in its care has admitted filming himself asking teenage inmates for oral sex.

Conan Zamolo's testimony came during a Royal Commission inquiry into youth detention in the Northern Territory which was ordered by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull after CCTV footage emerged last year showing guards at a juvenile detention centre teargassing inmates and strapping a half-naked, hooded boy to a chair.

Explicit videos filmed by Mr Zamolo were presented as evidence showing the former guard's behaviour towards the children.

Mr Zamolo, who worked at the Don Dale Youth Detention centre from 2012 to 2014, told the Commission that his requests for oral sex were "a joke".

"I was actually just going to say goodnight to them because I was leaving shift," Mr Zamolo said on Monday.

"I knew they'd take it as a joke, or I just assumed they would take it as a joke."

Another video showed a boy being encouraged to eat a small pellet of something found on a table, agreed to be "something disgusting".

Mr Zamolo admitted that it was his voice heard on the recording urging an inmate to eat faeces.

He said the incident was common to the culture within Don Dale, and children would "goof around" as a way to pass time.

"At the time I didn't think it was inappropriate, but now I see how inappropriate it is," Mr Zamolo said.

The former guard also admitted recording with a smart watch one of the children urinating . "It was a new watch that I was playing with, that I'd been playing with all day ... I can't even tell you if I knew it was recording or not, I got no idea, I didn't even know it was on my phone."

The Royal Commission was launched after footage emerged showing abuse of detainees at the Don Dale centre shot between 2010 and 2014. 

Boys held at the detention centre are sprayed with a fire hose by guards Credit: Four Corners/ABC

The footage, described as “shocking” by Mr Turnbull, included the “torture” of a teenager who was stripped, assaulted and cuffed to a mechanical restraint as well as six aboriginal boys being stripped naked, strapped to a chair with a hood, thrown by the neck into a cell and held for long periods in solitary confinement. 

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