Top guns in alleged secret ‘sex pest’ scandal

AUSTRALIAN fighter jet pilots have been investigated over an ­alleged bullying scandal after one of them was labelled a "creepy sex pest" in a secret online chat group.

According to The Australian, two investigations have been conducted into pilots from the Queensland-based No 6 Squadron, who took part in a combat training operation known as Exercise Red Flag.

Some members of the training operation set up the group chat on the encrypted communications app Signal.

The group talk about the victim's friendship with a female ground crew member and suggested his call sign for radio transmissions be "Shermanator, a creepy sex pest type of character".

The Australian reports that the name was referenced in a copy of the latest investi­gation report by Group Captain Robert Denney.

The victim alleged that the sex-pest term "persisted" and was also used at the executive level.

Some squadron members ­allegedly shouted "sex pest" when the victim went to a meeting to decide pilot call signs.

One chat group member also approached the female ground crew member to warn her that the victim was "creepy".

The victim was allegedly told that he was thought of by a senior commander as "wanting to f**k everything that moves".

The latest investigation this month found some squadron members had behaved unacceptably and been involved in harassment when they targeted the victim.

The victim was later transferred when he wanted to quit his job altogether.

The Australian reports that the experienced pilot remains on desk duties.


A Royal Australian Air Force EA-18G Growler flies over the Brisbane skyline. Picture: AAP
A Royal Australian Air Force EA-18G Growler flies over the Brisbane skyline. Picture: AAP


Defence told The Australian that "the matter was reported, investigated and ­reviewed in accordance with ­approved policies".

It is not clear if any pilots involved in the alleged bullying were sanctioned.

But in his report, Group Captain Denney found the chat group discussion was "low-level unacceptable behaviour".

Group Captain Denney noted the commanding officer of No 6 Squadron was made aware of "some possible call signs", including the proposed "sex pest" name.

But he said it was not considered as an official call sign. He said it was "offensive, insulting and had a very real capacity to be humiliating given the public nat­ure of the event". He found this to be "harassment".

When asked about the decision by The Australian last week, a Defence spokesman refused to comment.

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