SYDNEY - Australian officials have uncovered an incestuous cult of about 40 relatives who had sex with one another over the course of four generations, raising children with deformities in filthy conditions in a picturesque valley in New South Wales.
Brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, fathers and daughters had sex with one another, raising childen in squalid conditions who themselves grew up to become intimate and have more inbred children, the Daily Mail reported
The children had numerous disabilities, said the report. One boy had a walking impairment and severe psoriasis, another boy was afflicted with hearing and sight problems, and another's eyes were misaligned. A 9-year-old girl could not hear and had stunted speech, and was unable to bathe herself.
"Not only could the case of the Colt family be the nation's most appalling saga of child abuse, it is among one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public," The Daily Telegraph of Sydney reported.
"Colt" is a pseudonym given to the family to protect the minors involved and the name of the hidden valley was not disclosed by authorities.
But details of the lives of the adults and children have been released because it is understood that the court felt the nation should know about the worst case of incest it had ever heard, reported Daily Mail.
The newspaper said the cult reportedly hailed from a pair of great-great-grandparents who were brother and sister. Then, down through the generations, the family continued to regenerate itself.
The family moved around the country, from South Australia, to Victoria, Western Australia and then back across the continent to the fertile valley south of Sydney.
The debauched lives of the current generation of adults might never have been found if residents of a nearby town had not reported that there were children living in the hills who had not been attending school, according to the Daily Mail.
One resident told the Sydney paper that on occasions two women with 'about ten children' would emerge from a car that had interstate plates, buy something in the shops and leave.
'They were never clean looking,' said the man. And there was 'nothing' on the blocks of land where the family lived - 'no electricity, no water, just scrub.'
Reports said that the police and child care workers were stunned when they arrived at the secluded camp, where they found 40 adults and children living in two broken-down caravans and tents without running water or sewage.
Court documents said that the children were sexually involved with each other and only one - a five-year-old girl, the youngest - had parents who weren't related to each other.
The Telegraph reported that some of the children have since been placed with foster families, while others are in treatment programmes for sexualised behaviour and psychological trauma.