Don Dale officer sent sexual messages to teen, became NT cop

A FORMER Don Dale youth justice officer who sent "unsolicited sexual messages" to a teenage detainee after her release was subsequently recruited to the Territory police.

Jon Walton was named in the NT royal commission into youth justice as sending the messages to the girl - known as AG - via Facebook "while she was still aged under 18", despite his understanding that he was "not allowed" to speak to former detainees.

"He was aged in his early 20s at the time and described himself as 'immature'," commissioners Margaret White AO and Mick Gooda wrote.

"He said in hindsight he was deeply ashamed and embarrassed about his mistake in communicating to AG in the manner he did. He said 'I was a very junior officer and I had very little real understanding of the position of power I held over the detainees'."

The commissioners found Mr Walton's employment "without screening or training" was "symptomatic of the dire recruitment and selection processes in place" in the youth justice system.

They also found his "inappropriate conduct towards AG" was in breach of the Northern Territory Department of Correctional Services' Code of Conduct.

"This highlights not only the inappropriate staff selection and training practices that operated at the former and current Don Dale Youth Detention Centres during the relevant period but also the poor oversight by management," they wrote.

"The events involving AG are a manifestation of the obvious risks to the protection and wellbeing of detainees in the care of inappropriately selected and trained staff members."

An NT Police spokeswoman said Mr Walton's employment had since ended, but did not elaborate on the circumstances of his recruitment or the reason he was no longer employed by them.

"Mr Walton is not a current employee of the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services," she said.

"Circumstances regarding the separation of staff remain confidential between employer and employee."



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