The ex-CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS), Wayne Muir, has been charged with 20 historical offences of a sexual nature alleged to have occurred between 1979 and 2001.
The court could not disclose details of the alleged offences and the matter will return to the Ballarat Magistrates Court for a committal mention in October, but today Muir was granted bail.
In February, four women told of their experiences with Muir on the ABC’s 7:30 program, including his niece, who alleged that her uncle raped her when she was 14-years-old.
While Muir apologised to one of the women for sexual harassment he denied the other allegations, describing them as "false and defamatory".
Muir has been a central figure in Aboriginal justice groups in Victoria for more than 30 years. In 2015, VALS took over the Aboriginal legal service contract from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre – which made Muir the CEO of the legal service in both states.
In a statement at the time, VALS Board of Directors condemned the alleged actions and stood the then-CEO down. Muir later resigned.
"VALS acknowledges the deep community concern about these matters and reiterates our ongoing commitment to working towards justice for all Aboriginal people," the statement read.
"As a community controlled organisation devoted to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we advocate for the right of every person to be treated with dignity and respect.
"The Board acknowledges the important work of VALS staff, volunteers and broader community and extends support to them at this difficult time. We understand the concern in the broader community around the impact of this story."
Djirra, a Victorian Aboriginal women's domestic violence organisation, also released a statement in response to the allegations.
"Aboriginal women who make the very difficult decision to come forward must be supported and kept safe. Family violence and sexual assault must be condemned by all parts of the community," the statement read.
"No matter where our women are – at home or at work – any sort of behaviour that threatens them is completely unacceptable."