The carer went on to abuse three more children in his care after one girl reported the abuse. (AAP: Joe Castro)
A foster parent has been sentenced to more than 15 years’ jail for sexually abusing six children in his care, including one young Perth girl who was not believed by the authorities when she first complained about what happened to her.
- The carer ingratiated himself with police and persuaded them he was impotent
- He used erectile disfunction medication before abusing the children
- He maintained his innocence throughout the trial
The man, 73, was found guilty earlier this week of 20 child sex offences committed against the four girls and two boys over a four-year period, when they were aged between six and nine.
He was also convicted of indecently dealing with another child years later — a 10-year-old girl who was not in his foster care.
The District Court was told one of the victims, an eight-year-old girl who lived with the foster carer and his wife for about seven months, was removed from their home and taken to crisis care after she complained about being touched by him.
She was interviewed by child protection authorities and the police, but she was not believed because the carer managed to convince them he was impotent and incapable of committing the offences.
The girl’s plight was highlighted by sentencing Judge Christopher Stevenson, who described her interview with authorities at the time as being like “the Spanish inquisition”, saying it was fortunate investigations were no longer conducted that way.
He also said the girl’s case worker had disregarded his primary responsibility to her, and at the time of the complaint had instead seemed more concerned about the carer’s physical health.
He said the carer had ingratiated himself with police and managed to persuade them he was impotent, but Judge Stevenson said that was a deliberate lie because the man was taking medication, including Viagra, for his erectile dysfunction.
He went on to foster a further three children whom he also abused.
Child threatened with harm if she revealed abuse
Judge Stevenson said the carer had engaged in “relationship building” with the authorities to mask his offending.
He described the crimes as having “a degree of preparation and pre-planning”.
“It was not opportunistic but systematic over a lengthy period of time … all against the background of you using medication to facilitate your sexual performance.”
The court heard the man’s abuse started within 14 days of his first victim coming to live at his house and in one instance he put duct tape over her mouth to keep her quiet.
He also threatened some of the victims, telling one he would hurt her if she told anyone.
Judge Stevenson said the victims were vulnerable children who had disadvantaged backgrounds and should have been provided with love, care and nourishment.
“Instead you preyed upon them and took advantage of them for your own sexual gratification,” Judge Stevenson said.
He compared the victims’ situation to that of “David and Goliath” to highlight the power the carer had.
“The difference in position is significant, but at least David had a stone,” Judge Stevenson said.
“Those children had nothing, nobody … and you had absolute power over them in every sense.”
The carer, who maintains his innocence, was sentenced to 15 years and four months in jail.
He will have to serve 13 years and four months before he is eligible for parole.