Ex-scout master abused boys in Tasmania

·2-min read

An 87-year-old former scout master who used his position of authority to sexually abuse several boys in Tasmania will spend up to eight years in jail.

Martinus Nicholas Hulsman abused the boys while they slept alone with him in tents on camping trips and at his home in the 1970s and 1980s.

In sentencing in the Supreme Court of Tasmania in Hobart on Thursday, Justice Michael Brett said Hulsman used his position of power to create circumstances where he could be alone with the boys.

"You were the person who they trusted and relied upon for their safety and wellbeing," he said.

"Your conduct was clearly systematic and involved predatory behaviour."

Hulsman had been found guilty of persistent sexual abuse of a child, four counts of indecent assault and committing indecent acts with or directed at a child.

Hulsman more than once told the boys not to tell anyone about the abuse because it would not be in their best interests.

He was expelled from the scouts because of complaints and later abused one boy on camping and fishing trips, having befriended him and his mother as a "father-like figure".

"It must have been clear to you (the boy) had a troubled home life and was vulnerable," Justice Brett said.

"Such behaviour .... is evil and despicable."

Justice Brett said the lifelong harm to the men was apparent from their testimony. He said they recalled the abuse with "crystal clarity".

Hulsman, who is legally blind, incontinent, has a significant hearing impairment, depression and heart problems, showed no remorse and denied the abuse in multiple police interviews, Justice Brett said.

"You have avoided true accountability for your conduct until now," he said.

Hulsman, who has been married for 59 years and grew up in Holland during World War II, was sentenced to a non-parole period of four years.

Justice Brett noted his advanced aged and ill health would make jail more difficult and he would likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

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