Foster dad sent to jail Man touched girl in his care

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - LUCY SMITH lucy. smith@ news. com. au

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.