Aust pedophile a 'talented manipulator'

Peter Mitchell, AAP US Correspondent

The Texas prosecutor who successfully pursued a 40-year jail sentence for Scott Zirus has branded the Australian pedophile a "talented manipulator".

Zirus, nicknamed "Zirus the Virus" in Texas for the way he used his job as a camp counsellor in the US state in 2009 to groom and then sexually abuse five young boys, has applied for a prison transfer from the harsh Texas jail system to his home state of Western Australia where he also faces child molestation charges.

WA authorities plan to prosecute Zirus when he completes his US sentence and is deported to Australia, but Zirus wrote in his transfer application it was "extremely unfair" on the four boys he allegedly abused in WA to wait for him to serve the long US sentence.

Amos Barton, who was the Kerr County District Attorney in 2010 who prosecuted Zirus and is now a high-profile lawyer in Kerrville, Texas, scoffed at the pedophile's concern for the boys and their families.

"I am not surprised that Mr Zirus would like a change of accommodations from our Texas prison system, nor am I surprised that he would leverage a contrived desire for justice for his WA victims to help himself out," Mr Barton told AAP on Wednesday.

"He is a talented manipulator."

Zirus is housed at the French M. Robertson maximum-security state prison in Abilene, Texas.

The pedophile, formerly from Pinjarra, WA, ran his own children's camp in Australia.

With his tales about the Australian outback, performances of Aboriginal "kangaroo hunt" dances and ability to play the digeridoo, the then 25-year-old appeared to be a great recruit for Texas' Camp Stewart for Boys.

When parents of the five boys he abused picked their six and seven-year-olds up from the camp they noticed dramatic personality changes.

Some of the victims' parents told AAP Zirus would sleep in a bunk in a cabin with boys.

"Our son said, 'He'd snuggle me in bed and rub his beard against me even though I didn't want him to and he told me he loved me'," the mother of a seven-year-old told AAP after Zirus' 2010 sentencing.

Zirus faced a life prison sentence, but on the eve of his trial agreed to a maximum 40 years' jail, with a minimum of 20.

Mr Barton said he expected Zirus would serve the full 40 years "or very near that" because of the nature of his crimes.

The West Australian newspaper reported Zirus applied to the Australian Attorney-General's Department and US leaders for the prisoner transfer.

"I think it would be right and fitting for Mr Zirus to accept responsibility for his crimes in WA and accept an appropriate sentence in abstentia without attempting to use his WA victims as leverage to leave the Texas prison system," Mr Barton said.