A case manager at the Aboriginal children's service where paedophile Steven Larkins used his senior position to lure teenage boys into his home has told the royal commission on child sex abuse that he had used her "as a god damn puppet" and threatened her with defamation when she confronted him about his behaviour.
Jacqueline Henderson broke down on the witness stand when asked what she thought of Larkins, who was allowed to remain in the position of chief executive of the Hunter Aboriginal Children's Services for eight years, despite numerous reports and rumours of inappropriate behaviour.
"I take personal offence to what Steve has done to me and my community," Ms Henderson, who is also Larkin's second cousin, said.
"He's used me as a god damn puppet ... because of his dominance, and I don't want to see that happen to anyone else."
Ms Henderson said that she twice confronted Larkins about rumours that he had abused young boys while the leader of a Scouts group at Stockton in the Hunter region, but that this had drawn a furious response.
"He got very agitated and very angry and said he didn't want to hear any more about it," she said.
In her written statement to the commission, Ms Henderson records Larkins' exact words as: "if I hear this effing s**t again, I'll walk down to my solicitors right now and have you all for defamation."
The commission has heard that, despite the concerns that Ms Henderson and her colleagues had about Larkins, which included witnessing him grooming a 17-year-old boy, they did not report him to Community Services, allowing him to remain as chief executive until his arrest in 2011.
"You could have rung the people from DOCS ... the Children's Guardian couldn't you?" counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness, SC, asked.
"Yes," Ms Henderson admitted.
"Why didn't you?" Ms Furness replied.
"Given that it had gone to court and we were under the assumption it had been dealt with in court, I honestly thought nothing more of it."
The hearing continues.