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Former Maryborough teacher exposed as a child predator

FOUR decades after he sexually tormented his young students, a former Maryborough teacher has finally been exposed as a child predator.

John Vincent Lewis, 75, pleaded guilty in Hervey Bay District Court to 11 counts of indecent treatment of a child and two counts of common assault.

The court heard he abused five girls aged between 10 and 11 throughout a school year in the 70s.

One was called to the front of a full classroom and humiliated as Lewis placed his hand under her dress.

Crown Prosecutor Natalie Lima said another student was lured into a store room and digitally penetrated.

"He needed a helper to get something from a store room, (the girl) put her hand up to assist, and was chosen," Ms Lima said.

"He said it would be their secret and not to tell anyone else."

Ms Lima said when a male student confronted Lewis and said "I know what you do to the girls", he was slapped and thrown across the room.

She said one of the girl's mothers told the principal at the time but nothing was done.

It was only when one of the victims saw a Royal Commission advertisement in 2013 that she came forward.

A further four more victims were then identified.

Lewis, who now lives at Urraween, previously served four months in jail for crimes of similar nature in the 1980s but was not named until now.

He was supported in court this week by his wife and children.

Defence barrister Don MacKenzie told the court Lewis "doesn't remember a lot of the offending."

He argued Lewis should be spared jail because of his ill health and historic nature of the offences.

"He is a full-time carer for his wife," Mr MacKenzie said. "Due to delay in presenting the matters, prison will be far more difficult for him."

But Judge Michael Shanahan told Lewis he had abused his position of authority.

"The offences are so serious," Judge Shanahan said. "He broke their trust - it warrants time in custody.

Lewis was sentenced to three years in jail

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