Church dumps dancer

Author: Daniel de Nardi
Date Published: 12/12/2007

A man who teaches dance to children at the Cabramatta Serbian Orthodox Church has been suspended while he fights smuggling charges relating to child pornography.

The church committee held an emergency meeting after reading of the man’s impending court case in last week’s Liverpool Champion.

Customs officers arrested Rajko Dobre, 44, when he arrived in Sydney on a flight from Thailand on November 13.

They allege he was trying to smuggle DVDs containing child pornography.

He was charged with intentionally importing banned goods and faces up to 10 years in jail and/or a $275,000 fine if found guilty.

Mr Dobre was bailed in Waverley Local Court last week to report to Liverpool police three times a week,to not approach any international departure point or apply for travel documentation, and to remain at a Liverpool address. He said he intended to plead not guilty when he faces court on January 8.

Outraged parents phoned the Champion after seeing his name in a police brief in last week’s edition.

Church committee president Rajko Ignjatic said he was shocked to learn about the charges through the newspaper.

“As soon as we saw the notice and determined that it was the same person we held an emergency meeting and agreed he should be suspended while the matter was being heard in court,” he said.

“We really don’t know much at all about what’s happened, but we thought it would be best to take every precaution and remove him from his duties at the church until further notice.

“It’s not very good news but this action is probably best for both sides.”