Former WA cop jailed for 'degrading' abuse

·2-min read

A retired West Australian police sergeant who used his position of trust to prey on young boys has been jailed for at least eight years.

Garry Edward Burton, 65, sexually abused three boys, aged 12 to 16, across more than a decade while serving in the force.

He pleaded guilty in the WA District Court to 16 charges relating to offences between 2003 and 2014.

Judge Carmel Barbagallo on Tuesday sentenced Burton to 10 years in prison, with a non-parole period of eight years.

She told Burton he had left his victims with permanent psychological scars that had impacted their lives in every way imaginable.

"They were supposed to enjoy their hobbies freely, to go through school with a spark of ambition for their futures," she said.

"Instead, they are left to pick up the pieces of the tragedy of childhood sexual abuse which you caused them for your own selfish sexual gratification.

"There can be no doubt whatsoever that you used your position of trust and the power imbalance with each victim to commit these offences in the way that you did."

The court heard Burton had abused one of the boys after inviting him to his house on the pretext of helping him with a hobby.

He told the boy he would have to engage in sexual acts with him in exchange for his help.

Another victim was abused after Burton exploited his interest in becoming a police officer.

Judge Barbagallo accepted Burton had likely been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety in the early-2000s after encountering dead bodies and badly injured victims in his role as a traffic officer.

But she found it had played no significant role in offending which was premeditated and involved the isolation and manipulation of impressionable youths.

She noted that Burton had never apologised to his victims until just before his sentencing.

"Taking steps towards rehabilitation is one thing, but saying sorry is another," she said.

"Based on all I have learnt about you and the circumstances of this offending, I am of the view that your remorse is limited.

"Your conduct in my view was degrading and humiliating to the victims."

Burton had received a character reference during his sentencing by former police commissioner Karl O'Callaghan.