Jail for sex assault homeless man
A HOMELESS man with a history of child sex offences has been jailed after he sexually assaulted a nine-year-old girl while camping in Bunbury.
Liam Eltin Kearney, 56, was sentenced in the Bunbury District Court on Monday after he pleaded guilty to three counts of indecently dealing with a child under 13.
The court was told, Kearney was released from prison in April last year after spending more than six years behind bars for similar sexual offences.
Unable to find work, Kearney set up camp and was living out of a tent when he befriended the young girl and her mother who were also staying at the campsite in January this year. Kearney committed the offences while he and the girl were in his tent over two separate occasions, the court was told.
Lawyer Derek Hunter said Kearney and the mother spent a lot of time drinking alcohol together and at the time of the offences he was “very drunk”.
Mr Hunter said Kearney had completed a sex offenders treatment program during his last stint in jail, but he did not think he would start drinking to such excess.
He said Kearney – knowing now he would be going back to jail – had plans to make contact with Alcoholics Anonymous once sentenced.
State prosecutor Sarah Kavanagh argued there were elements of persistence and grooming in Kearney’s offending.
Judge Andrew Stavrianou said a victim impact statement outlined the effect of Kearney’s actions.
Judge Stavrianou said Kearney took advantage of a vulnerable child.
Kearney was jailed for two years and nine months and was made eligible for parole.