Abuse vic­tim tells of night­mares

Albany Advertiser - - NEWS - Tim Clarke

One of the sex abuse vic­tims of wealthy Al­bany man Ken­neth Nor­man yesterday gave a heartwrench­ing ac­count of how his crimes had im­pacted every as­pect of her life in the past four decades.

Nor­man, who will turn 80 next month, was last night be­hind bars, af­ter be­ing re­manded in cus­tody ahead of learn­ing his fate later this week.

Af­ter an emo­tional District Court trial ear­lier this year, the long-time elec­tri­cian was con­victed of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing eight girls in at­tacks dat­ing back al­most 50 years, af­ter Nor­man had de­nied he had preyed on the young daugh­ters of friends for years.

The jury heard de­tailed al­le­ga­tions of how Nor­man had sex­u­ally as­saulted the girls dur­ing camp­ing trips, mo­tor­bike rides and as they got ready for Brown­ies meet­ings.

And, de­spite ac­quit­ting him of more than a dozen charges, the ju­rors did find him guilty of of­fences against every one of his ac­cusers, who told how he had groped and mo­lested them in acts com­mit­ted be­tween 31 and 48 years ago.

Dur­ing a sen­tenc­ing hear­ing yesterday, one of those vic­tims was per­mit­ted to read her vic­tim im­pact state­ment aloud, say­ing as a re­sult she suf­fered years of anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, mood swings and para­noia span­ning 45 years.

“I have felt alone, help­less and fright­ened . . . and a guilt which has spi­ralled into anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion,” she said. “I still have night­mares.” Dur­ing the trial, the court was told how through a group of male friends who went spearfish­ing to­gether, the fam­i­lies — in­clud­ing Nor­man’s — spent many days to­gether on beaches, boats and bikes.

It was mostly dur­ing these trips that the elec­tri­cian took the chance to grope and fon­dle the girls, and some­times get them to touch him.

In 1978, Nor­man ad­mit­ted to two such of­fences and was con­victed of of­fend­ing against two sis­ters aged nine and 12.

It was those same women, along with six oth­ers, who in late 2015 and early 2016 be­gan re­count­ing more sto­ries of abuse to po­lice.

Yesterday, Nor­man’s lawyer Tom Percy ex­plained that while he had de­nied every of­fence, he also ac­cepted he had com­mit­ted crimes against chil­dren over many years — he just couldn’t re­mem­ber ex­actly what and against whom.

Mr Percy also ar­gued that he had not planned or pre­med­i­tated the as­saults on the girls, but Judge Mark Her­ron said that in his view he had shown “plan­ning, pre­med­i­ta­tion and per­sis­tence”.

Prose­cu­tor Re­becca Sleeth said Nor­man had shown no re­morse what­so­ever, which was shown in some of the cross-ex­am­i­na­tion of vic­tims — which sug­gested they were un­sta­ble or af­ter his money.

“The shat­ter­ing of trust of all eight of the vic­tims has left them in­se­cure and ashamed,” Ms Sleeth said.

Nor­man will be sen­tenced on Wed­nes­day.

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