Brother, sister, actress named in circus child abuse case

SYDNEY actress Yyani Cook-Williams, her actress mother Therese Ann Cook, uncle Paul Cook and stepsister Clarissa Meredith have been revealed as the people accused in the circus child abuse case.

A Sydney magistrate has lifted a suppression order on the identities of those alleged to have taken place in shocking and depraved acts on children as young as three and seven years old.

All four accused have pleaded not guilty to multiple charges.

Yyani Cook-Williams is a burlesque dancer, a co-convener of the circus and has performed in theatre including the play Sunday in the Park at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre.

Therese Ann Cook has worked in health and education and formed the circus in 2009.

Details of depraved rapes and sexual assaults allegedly carried out on the children have been revealed.

Court documents also allege that on one occasion "­rituals" were performed on the boys.

Along with the Yyani Cook-Williams, Therese Ann Cook, Paul Williams and Clarissa Meredith, three further people have been charged.

Her mother, circus matriarch Therese Cook, is also accused of child sex abuse.
Her mother, circus matriarch Therese Cook, is also accused of child sex abuse.

Their names are suppressed because at the time that the alleged acts were committed - between 2014 and 2016 - these three were all under the age of 18.

The total 127 charges laid against seven accused persons include both males and females allegedly having sex with boys under the age of eight, while others allegedly filmed the depraved acts, according to documents supplied at Penrith Local Court.

Some of the charges relate to children as young as three and seven.

Therese Cook’s brother Paul Cook, 52, is accused of filming a teenage male having sex with one of the boys aged under eight and another person.
Therese Cook’s brother Paul Cook, 52, is accused of filming a teenage male having sex with one of the boys aged under eight and another person.

On one occasion, at Katoomba in April 2016, 58-year-old Therese Cook allegedly choked one of the young boy victims in order to sexually assault him.

Ms Cook's 52-year-old brother Paul is accused of filming a teenage male having sex with one of the boys aged under eight and another person, the documents allege.

Mr Cook is also accused of being in the company of his sister while she allegedly had sex with one of the young boy victims.

Yyani Cook-Williams is charged with sexual assault of one of the young boys in the company of Therese Cook after Ms Cook-Williams allegedly deprived the boy of his liberty before the assault.

The house and property Katoomba where accused brother and sister Therese and Paul Cook lived before their arrest on child abuse charges. Picture: David Swift.
The house and property Katoomba where accused brother and sister Therese and Paul Cook lived before their arrest on child abuse charges. Picture: David Swift.

All the alleged offences listed in the court documents occurred at Parramatta and Leura, Lawson, Katoomba and Mt Victoria in the Blue Mountains.

Therese Cook is charged with 43 offences, Paul Cook with five offences, Yyani Cook-Wiliams with eight offences and Clarissa Meredith with 13 charges.

The charges against Therese Cook include sexual intercourse without consent of a person under ten years old, indecent assault, deprive liberty, aggravated sexual assault in company and choke a person with intent to committing sexual assault.

Yyani Cook-Williams in a 2007 play.
Yyani Cook-Williams in a 2007 play.
Sydney actress and theatre performer Yyani Cook-Williams.
Sydney actress and theatre performer Yyani Cook-Williams.
Accused Therese Cook, 58, is an actress and passionate circus performer.
Accused Therese Cook, 58, is an actress and passionate circus performer.
Inside The Arcade Circus training school in Katoomba run by Therese Cook and her daughter Yyani Cook-Wiliams.
Inside The Arcade Circus training school in Katoomba run by Therese Cook and her daughter Yyani Cook-Wiliams.
Therese Cook training at Arcade Circus school.
Therese Cook training at Arcade Circus school.
Therese Cook denies all 43 charges.
Therese Cook denies all 43 charges.
Therese Cook allegedly choked one of the young boy victims in order to sexually assault him.
Therese Cook allegedly choked one of the young boy victims in order to sexually assault him.
Accused Yyani Cook Williams has pleaded not guilty, as have all the accused.
Accused Yyani Cook Williams has pleaded not guilty, as have all the accused.

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