How 'grandfather' to three young kids violated their trust
HE WAS seen by three young children as a grandfatherly figure - but he took advantage of them while they were in his care.
A man in his 40s, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty in Bundaberg District Court this week to seven counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16 under 12 under care.
The court heard the children were known to the man but were not biologically related.
One of the incidents involved two of the children touching the man's genitalia after asking them if they wanted to play with it, while the third child was exposed to the act.
On another occasion the man squeezed and touched the genitalia of two of the children.
When the parents and the children were living with the man, the eldest child woke up to the man squeezing his genitalia.
During another incident the man masturbated in front of one of the children.
Crown prosecutor Carla Ahern told the court the man had no criminal history that was similar in nature.
She said there was a significant age disparity between the man and the three children.
"He took advantage of three children who were in his care and he was in a position of trust," she said.
"In my submission, there is a gross breach of trust and they considered the defendant their 'pa' … it occurred in an environment where they were thought to be safe."
Ms Ahern said the man was required to serve an actual term of imprisonment unless there were exceptional circumstances and submitted a term of no less than two years was within range.
The man's barrister Nick Larter told the court his client had a "prejudicial" childhood and was exposed to domestic violence at a young age.
Mr Larter said his client did not have contact with his father for many years and his relationship with his mother was "dysfunctional".
He said the man lived a "fairly isolated" life and that he did not threaten the children or use violence.
Mr Larter told the court the man suffered from a number of medical issues that would make his time in custody more onerous than others.
Judge Dennis Lynch took into account the man's plea of guilty and that he had no criminal history that was similar.
"The children were not biologically related to you, but you were considered to be in a position of a grandfather to them," he said.
"These are serious offences, occurring because you were in a position of trust and respect of these children and they were all very young.
"Your abuse of them was an exploitation of your position as a trusted member of the household and I'm satisfied this was carried out for your own sexual gratification."
The man was sentenced to two years imprisonment to be suspended for three years after serving four months.