Bundaberg Court House.
Bundaberg Court House. Mike Knott BUN020419COU1

Father's 'grave breach of trust' heard in child abuse case

ALL too often, it is the voiceless innocent who suffer at the hands of those they trust the most.

And in Bundaberg District Court on Friday a perfect example of this was heard.

It was there a father pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16, who was under his care and two counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16 who was his linear descendent and under his care.

It was heard the man had had indecently treated and exposed children, who had been under his care, to inappropriate touching.

The offending spanned more than 20 years and was described by Crown prosecutor Lara Soldi as "sporadic and opportunistic ... and involved grave breaches of trust”.

One victim was his biological daughter, who was 12 or 13 during the incident.

It was heard the man had touched her inappropriately one night when she was staying at his home with her brother.

She rolled away from him and he stopped touching her.

A month later, the man told his daughter it "wouldn't happen again” and she fell asleep next to him, but woke to him touching her around her pelvis.

A second victim was named as the man's stepdaughter, aged seven when he offended against her.

The pair were taking a bath together when the man pulled the girl on to his lap, and tried to initiate a sexual act with her.

The third victim was a seven-year-old girl whose mother was close friends with the man.

He touched the girl as she slept and when she said no he tried to have her touch him. But after she said no again, he stopped trying.

The man, now 62, did not deny the allegations of the victims, despite the court hearing he had "memory loss” as the result of a severe heart attack in 2011. The defence cited oxygen loss to his brain as the cause of his memory problems.

"What he has shown is he is a danger,” Ms Solbi said. Defence barrister Callan Cassidy maintained the acts were in the "lower end of the scale in seriousness ... a short period of touching that desisted when requested.” "The other offences were in the context of a sleeping child ... I don't know if that is better or worse ... he is aware of his conduct.” He was sentenced to four years in prison, with a parole release date of July 10, 2020.



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