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Fled Vietnam to Australia, Started Four Families : Marine on Run 17 Years Rejects Deserter Label

August 02, 1987|GLENN F. BUNTING | Times Staff Writer

Beane said he fled the hospital, after hiding for 12 hours while the staff searched the grounds for him, by grabbing a flak jacket and helmet from outside an operating room and posing as a Marine aviator.

He returned to Saigon and obtained an Army staff sergeant's uniform, counterfeit identification papers and phony travel orders out of the country from his Vietnamese contacts.

The following day, April 27, 1970, Beane landed in Sydney with $700 in his pocket, a bottle of Canadian Club whiskey and no idea where to go. He purchased a blond wig to conceal his military crew cut.

The first two years on the run in Australia were the most trying, Beane said. He was constantly on the move and used a different name nearly every month. After about two years, he adopted the name Paul Arthur Reed from an English tourist who gave him his international driver's license.

Beane lived in remote areas of Australia and worked at a variety of odd jobs. He swept up wool at sheep shearings, planted pine trees, hunted foxes, built fences and moved irrigation lines.

Describes Life on Run

"I never had much," Beane said. "I just had enough to live on. I had an old car and I didn't eat much."

During a recent interview Beane, the proud father, displayed photographs of his nine children and the four women who are their mothers. His sexual exploits have been widely reported in the Australia press, which last year dubbed him "a mixture of Scarlet Pimpernel and Casanova."

Beane's first steady companion was Karen Moroney, now 38, whom he met in 1972 and married last November. They have two children, Andrew Douglas, 12, and Mary Ann, 10, and Moroney is six months pregnant with their third child.

Beane also had a daughter, Rahda, now 14, and a son, Balaram, 9, with Lexie MacArthur, who lives with her children in a Hare Krishna commune. His twin girls, Christine and Skye, now 8, live with their mother, Valerie, whose last name he would not give. He also has three children with Helen Syme, whom he met on a skiing holiday in New Zealand in 1980. They are Madeline, 5, Douglas Robert, 4, and Gary, 2.

Grandmother's View

Beane's mother said she could do little but collect photographs of her expanding family of grandchildren.

"I didn't approve," said Christine Beane. "I think it was because he couldn't stay in one place long enough . . . . I always kept in touch (with the women) because of the kids . . . . There wasn't much I could do about it. I could accept it or say I disowned my grandchildren. That's not my life style. I've been married to the same man for 41 years."

Beane said he came home to visit his sick father and to be reunited with his family.

"I'm glad it's all over for him," said his father, Donald Beane, 63, a disabled heavy-equipment operator. "I was wondering after a while if I'd ever see him again."

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