Foster dad sent to jail Man touched girl in his care
A TOWNSVILLE foster carer who twice molested a girl, 13, in his care has been jailed.
The retired army officer, 63, who cannot be named to protect the girl, pleaded guilty in Townsville District Court on Wednesday to three counts of indecent treatment of a child.
Crown prosecutor Will Slack said the man and his wife became long- term guardians for the girl in January last year.
The man and girl were watching a movie in April last year when he rubbed her leg and put his hand under her shirt, touching her breast.
On May 16 last year, the man’s wife went to stay at her daughter’s house and he and the girl stayed home alone.
“The complainant woke the defendant later that night after she had a nightmare and he invited her into his bed,” Mr Slack said.
While she was lying in bed, the man touched her breasts and genital area.
“The defendant stopped touching the complainant after a few minutes, he said he wondered what he was doing and didn’t know what came over him,” he said. “The defendant asked the complainant to keep it a secret because he didn’t want to go to jail.”
Mr Slack said the man phoned his wife, asking her to return. When she arrived, the girl told her what happened.
Mr Slack said the man reported the incident the following day.
He was interviewed by police and confessed to touching the girl in May, but denied the April incident.
“This was a substantial betrayal or breach of trust by the defendant, who was in a position of full- time guardian, or foster carer, of the complainant,” Mr Slack said.
Defence barrister Scott Geeves said there were “exceptional circumstances” and the man should avoid time in jail.
He said the man had no history of sex offending and was “mortified by his conduct”.
Mr Geeves said the man served 23 years in the army and achieved the high rank of Warrant Officer Class 1. He had received medals including an Australian Service Medal.
He said the man’s marriage had ended but a daughter was in court supporting him.
“It is quite apparent that he has advised his children of his current predicament, he’s apologised to them all, and he describes feeling, and these are his own words, like a ‘ stupid old man’,” he said.
Judge Gregory Lynham said the incident was a “gross breach of trust”. The man was sentenced to 15 months in jail, suspended after two months.