Child rapist Kennedy jailed for 17 years

Sophie Tarr
A disgraced Illawarra Aboriginal elder, Roy Kennedy, faces a 12-year jail term for child sex crimes.

Disgraced Aboriginal elder and one-time community leader Roy Noel Kennedy has been jailed for at least 12 years for historical sex crimes against a teenage girl.

Handing down his sentence at Wollongong District Court on Monday, Judge Paul Conlon described how the 58-year-old had subjected his victim to years of "grotesque" abuse that showed his "callous disregard" for the teenager.

"He exploited her youth in the worst possible way, and the offending involved a gross breach of trust," Judge Conlon said.

"She was entitled to feel safe and protected ... not be the target of the offender's lust and sexual gratification."

When one sexual assault resulted in the birth of a child, Judge Conlon said, Kennedy threatened to have the child taken away from the young mother if she revealed the abuse or if she did not continue having sexual intercourse with him.

Continued assaults produced another child, followed by a third pregnancy that resulted in the miscarriage of the teenager's unborn twins - "no doubt a most traumatic event for this young girl".

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Kennedy's victim said his crimes had destroyed her innocence and she continued to struggle in life.

Kennedy pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated sexual assault against a minor in late 2014, on what was to be the first day of his trial.

Judge Conlon on Monday sentenced Kennedy to a total of 17 years behind bars and a non-parole period of 12 years, making him eligible for parole in 2028.