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Victim speaks out after abuser's sentence cut

A GYMPIE woman who was manipulated into performing sexual acts with her stepfather when she was a child has endured yet another blow after finding out his jail time has been cut.

The decorated Vietnam veteran was sentenced in Brisbane District Court to 10 years jail in August 2012, after he pleaded guilty to three charges of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child, five counts of indecent treatment of a child while under care and two charges of incest.

Judge Leanne Clare declared the man a serious and violent offender which meant he would not be eligible for parole until he had served at least 80% of his decade-long sentence.

However, a sentencing appeal brought to the Queensland Supreme Court in September saw the man granted a one-year reduction.

The changed sentence means the man will have to serve only half his sentence before he is eligible for parole.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victims, manipulated the woman from when she was 11 years old until she was an adult, and her older sister between the ages of 13 and 16, perform sexual acts for him.

He told the girls he needed their sexual acts for life-saving pain relief caused by his various injuries and illness.

"He said without me ... he would have died," the woman said.

What has frustrated the younger of the predator's two stepdaughters was that the reduction in sentence was granted because the man again pleaded his ongoing pain.

The Supreme Court determined the "applicant's many ailments would render his imprisonment unusually onerous and create continuing health management difficulties".

The woman said it was not justice.

"I don't think it's justice when he gets time off his sentence for his illness when he used that same excuse when he abused me," the woman said.

The man's years of preying on his stepdaughters was summarised by Judge Clare, who said the man "manipulated their goodness and their innocence".

"You preyed upon those things in the basest way to meet your own perverted urges," she said.

"You made the girls believe that your health depended on what they would give you.

"You described them as your pain relief and you made them feel selfish, cruel if they refused you.

"It was calculated, repetitious offending.

"You worked to establish secrecy and co-operation from your victims.

"You heartlessly manipulated their emotions, persisting even in the face of their own abhorrence."

The woman said it was those words that put years' worth of anger behind her in an "unexpected" instant.

"Before he was sentenced, I had a lot of anger; at everything and nothing at the same time," she said.

"It all went away and I never expected it."

But for the woman, the reduction in the original sentence has diminished Justice Clare's important words.

"That 10-year sentence was significant to me," she said.

"He put me through hell.

"He took time from me and I want time taken from him."

Gympie Times

Topics:  brisbane district court child rape editors picks sentencing stepfather vietnam veteran



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