Melbourne swingers club founder charged with rape

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The founder of a secret Melbourne swingers network, which claims that “safety and consent are paramount” at its adult-themed events, has been charged with rape.

Gary Broughton, 34, appeared in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court late last month accused of five rape offences and one count of sexual assault against a woman he had met on a singles’ website.

Gary Broughton.

Another man, who was in a relationship with the alleged victim, has also been charged with several counts of rape over the same alleged incident at a property in Armadale in January last year.

Last year, Broughton started a company called Private Society, which claims on its website to offer a “playground for the curious and open-minded to explore connections beyond the norm”.

“We maintain strict rules and guidelines to ensure that everyone feels secure and respected throughout our events. Our team is experienced in creating a welcoming environment, and we encourage open communication among guests to establish clear boundaries and expectations,” the Private Society website says.

The company hosts regular swingers parties at a venue in Balaclava.

Broughton appeared in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.Credit: Darrian Traynor

“We understand that everyone has unique preferences and boundaries, so we’re creating a safe, inclusive, and judgment-free space. We prioritise the comfort and respect of all our guests,” according to the Private Society website.

Last Friday, Boughton’s barrister Elizabeth McKinnon attempted to change her client’s bail conditions and clarify what information could be used during cross-examination of the alleged victim at a committal hearing in October.

On July 31, Liam O’Flaherty, 32, faced court where he also attempted to have his bail conditions changed.

O’Flaherty, who previously served with the Australian Defence Force in Afghanistan, is also charged with five counts of rape and one count of sexual assault over the alleged incident on January 20 last year, according to charge sheets.

He faces several other rape charges over the alleged sexual assault of his then partner at a St Kilda property on January 12, 2022 and another residence in Prahran on December 17, 2021.

Broughton and O’Flaherty met on a social networking app known as RedHotPie, which is also used by Private Society to promote its functions. According to Broughton’s profile on the site, the 34-year-old tradesman has been active on Melbourne’s swingers scene for 14 years.

Using the alias Josh, Broughton said he had attended “most of Melbourne’s most prominent play parties and events”.

“I absolutely love group play, the social interactions and bringing like-minded people together, which is why after noticing a need for classy and specialised events I started Private Society with another amazing host,” Broughton states on his profile.

Broughton and O’Flaherty are due to face committal hearings in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on October 23.

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