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Australian Actress Convicted Of Molesting Psychiatric Hospital Patient

It’s nothing new for people in the entertainment industry to get in trouble, but the past few years have seen an alarming amount of molestation cases come to light. (And yes, even a single one of those is alarming.) Australian actress Maggie Kirkpatrick is in the middle of a case that began decades ago, as she was convicted earlier today of molesting a 14-year-old psychiatric hospital patient who was a fan of hers.

From 1982 to 1986, Kirkpatrick was on the Australian soap opera Prisoner (also called Prisoner: Cell Block H), set inside a women’s prison. Kirkpatrick played the role of Joan “The Freak” Ferguson, an officer who was as corrupt as could be at times who, among other damning deeds, would conduct full body searches of the inmates that basically allowed her to molest them. And I guess the actress disgustingly decided to take her work home with her back in 1984.

Kirkpatrick was charged with two counts of indecently assaulting the 14-year-old inside her home, as well as one count of gross indecency. Calling the allegations “malicious” and “untrue,” she plead not guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, but following a hearing that lasted only a day, Magistrate Peter Mealy found her guilty of all charges, and set her sentencing for Friday. According to the AP, it’s not clear what that sentence might entail.

For what it’s worth, her defense lawyer Justine Hannebery requested that the court limit her punishment to a community service order rather than a prison term. Which seems kind of ridiculous, considering the crime involved, regardless of how long it’s been since it happened. It doesn’t appear that Australia has the same kind of statute of limitations that we have here in the U.S., which allowed 19 Kids and Counting’s Josh Duggar to get away with his own molestation crimes without any court-ordered discipline.

In the years following Prisoner, Kirkpatrick would be seen in in shows such as The Ferals and Blue Heelers, finding a recurring role on the soap opera Home and Away around a decade ago. She was last seen on the small screen in an appearance on All Saints, and was recently in a stage performance of Wicked in Australia.

Kirkpatrick is only the latest Australian entertainer to find herself in trouble for such a heinous crime. Last year saw Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes, who worked with Kirkpatrick on an episode, sentenced to 11 years in jail for molesting several young girls that included one of his cast members. Also last year, musician and artist Rolf Harris got six years in prison for multiple counts of indecent assault on four young females aged 8 to 19. Here in the States, the past year has seen 7th Heaven’s Stephen Collins admit to inappropriate sexual conduct with underage females, and the cancelations of Honey Boo Boo and Sons of Guns over child molestation allegations. Let’s get it together, world.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.