Aug 8, 2016

The Bachelor's Keira Maguire distances herself from paedophile father and cult past

·        AUGUST 8 2016


·        The Sydney Morning Herald

Amy Croffey

The Bachelor star Keira Maguire grew up in a "polygamist cult" headed up by her late father, Alistah Laishkochav, a convicted paedophile.

The 30-year-old's unique background, which was first uncovered by Woman's Day on Monday, revealed Laishkochav had nine de facto wives and fathered 64 children.

Maguire claims she spent just five years with her 63 siblings and Laishkochav's harem – four in their first camp at Bells Beach, Victoria, and one year in Byron Bay, NSW, where they moved in 1992. She said at age five, her mother Michelle moved her and her five immediate sisters and brothers to Queensland.

In a statement to Fairfax Media on Monday, Maguire said: "My mother removed my family from that environment when I was five years old, over 25 years ago. I was brought up by my mother and grandmother in Brisbane in a loving, caring and compassionate household.

"I had a wonderful childhood and I am extremely grateful to both my mother and grandmother for the upbringing which they provided me and my siblings," she said.

Maguire, who has been dubbed the "villain" of this year's show thanks to her tantrum-throwing and fights with fellow bachelorettes, wants to distance herself from the child sex offender and her upbringing.

The account manager, who now lives in Sydney's Double Bay, did not reveal her background on The Bachelor – a show often likened to polygamy, while a source close to her told Fairfax Media on Monday they had "no idea" about her past.

"Although I have since met and reunited with my family, I have never had a relationship with Alistah Laishkochav," Maguire added.

"Alistah Laishkochav is not relevant to who I am nor does he define me."

According to her The Bachelor profile Maguire's mantra is "quality over quantity" and she is often seen on the reality TV show discussing her distain at having to share Richie Strahan with 22 other single women.

Laishkochav, born Ian Lowe in New Zealand, was jailed in 2000 at the age of 71 after he was found guilty of 16 counts of indecent assault, one count of sexual penetration of a child under 10, three counts of attempted sexual penetration of a child under 10 and one count of recklessly causing injury.

The offences, against the girls, aged seven to 11, some of whom were the children of his followers, occurred between 1987 and 1991.

According to a 2000 court report in The Age, in evidence, one of the complainants detailed sexual assaults and said Laishkochav warned her if she told anyone, "God would punish me and he would hurt me".

The judge at the time sentenced him to seven years and six months' jail, saying he had shown no remorse for his abhorrent acts.

In 2008, he was secretly deported from Australia to his native New Zealand after being released from jail.

At the time, his son Shem Baker of Brisbane told The Courier-Mail: "He's over there, isolated and with no support.

"Despite what he is, he is still my father. I have to live with the fact that he's a paedophile," he added.

Laishkochav moved to Australia from New Zealand in the 1970s. He started the cult in 1983 and attracted followers because of his "spiritual powers" and beliefs based on Jewish, Muslim and Mormon religions.


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