News

Former stepfather jailed for sexual abuse

GYMPIE District Court heard yesterday from a woman as she bravely recounted a "horror story" childhood while the man who assulted her was in court.

Her now 64-year-old former stepfather was charged with 16 counts of indecent treatment of a child under 14 years.

The charges dated back to 1976 and 1985 in Tiaro when the woman was aged between five and 13.

Yesterday the woman read a graphic witness impact statement to the court.

"I was subjected to not only physical but also psychological damage," the woman said.

She determinedly told the court of a tarnished childhood, where her stepfather took advantage of her.

She said she was angry at the man for "taking my innocence".

"I was his slave," she said.

"He saw me as an object."

She recalled a fearful childhood spent trying to avoid her stepfather, telling the court she would often wet the bed rather than open her bedroom door at night.

She said she also lived in fear that "if I told, he would go to jail and my mother would die... and it would be all my fault, as he told me."

The court heard the abuse continued until the victim told her aunt.

The court heard while authorities became aware of the situation around 1985, the victim's mother did not press charges and the stepfather was only ordered to see a psychiatrist.

He attended two sessions before being told he need attend no more.

During the victim's hard-hitting statement, she told the court of a lifetime of suffering in the aftermath of her abuse.

In his defence, the stepfather told the court of his deep remorse and the court heard he had not offended before or since the incidents.

"(I'm) deeply regretful," the man said.

He pleaded guilty to all 16 charges in front of Judge Gary Long.

"You've pleaded guilty to 16 dreadful offences," Judge Long told the defendant.

"When you were expected to care for her as her father."

The defendant was sentenced to three years' prison for each offence, with the term of imprisonment to be suspended after six months.

Topics:  child abuse sexual abuse stepfather

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