A former parent helper at a Perth primary school has been jailed for 10 years for indecently dealing with seven students at the school.
The 36-year-old father of three was this morning sentenced to an immediate jail term in the Perth District Court over the child sex offences which involved seven boys aged between six and nine and occurred between 2008 and 2011.
Following a District Court trial in June, the man, who had volunteered as a parent helper at the school where his two sons attended, was found guilty of 16 charges of indecently dealing with a child under 13 and four charges of sexually penetrating a child.
He was also today sentenced on other child sex offences after pleading guilty to two separate charges of indecently recording a child, two charges of possessing child exploitation material and two further charges of indecently dealing with the six-year-old son of a friend in Albany in May.
The indecent dealing in Albany took place while the man was on bail ahead of his trial on the other matters, the court was told.
Family and friends of the victims today packed into the Perth District courtroom for the man’s sentencing and were clearly disappointed with his sentence, with one woman yelling “I hope you rot in hell” and another shouting “you get 10 years, our kids get life”.
The court was told the man had taken pictures of boys between the ages of eight and 12 in a swimming pool change room.
The boys were in various states of undress in the pictures and on the last day of swimming lessons, a boy noticed the man taking pictures and reported it to a teacher, State prosecutor Louise O’Connor said.
The former fly-in, fly-out worker also pleaded guilty to possessing 1,938 images of child pornography on a thumb drive and other pictures and movies on a personal computer.
In sentencing the man, District Court judge Bruce Goetze said his offending had been committed openly, brazenly and in public places and he had breached the trust placed in him as a parent helper at the school.
Judge Goetze said the man’s offending was that of a “sexual predator” and he had preyed on young boys and taken advantage of them.
The judge said a pre-sentence report prepared for the court showed the man was in denial about his offending, continuing to deny any touching of young boys and a psychiatrist found he was at a moderate to high risk of reoffending.
Details of victim impact statements prepared by the mothers of some of the students revealed the toll the crimes had taken on their families, telling how their sons’ personalities had changed and that the boys had lost their innocence, self-confidence and were now conscious of their own bodies.
Judge Goetze said a number of the children had sleeping problems, suffered from nightmares and had a fear of returning to the school where the offences took places.
“These little children simply can't escape what’s happened to them,” Judge Goetze said.
The court was told there was eight victims, including seven at the school where the man had worked as a parent helper.
At his trial, he was found guilty of four charges of sexually penetrating one of the school boys.
The man, who was previously convicted for possessing child exploitation material in Queensland in 2004, was sentenced to 10 years jail.
He could be eligible for parole after he has served eight years.
Outside court, a mother of one of the victims said she was deeply disappointed with the jail term.
The mother said the man should have been made to serve the separate jail sentences handed to him for each offence consecutively and not concurrently as ordered by the judge.
“I added it up and it was about 35 years and he’s got 10 years,” she said.
The woman said she was concerned how her son would handle what had happened to him as he grew up.
“It’s hard because they’re so young, my concern is how they’ll react in the future. He’s a little bit young now to understand exactly what’s happened to him,” she said. “I think we’re yet to see how this will really impact them. Their behavior has changed but I don't think they fully understand.
“It's very hard to trust people now.”
Another woman who attended the sentencing to support the parents of the victims said she was shocked by the “slap on the wrist” given to the child sex offender.
“It’s just ridiculous how he’s gotten away with so many charges and to reoffend while he was on bail and what did he get? A slap on the wrist,” she said.
The woman said she feared there were other victims who were yet to come forward.