The West

Foster carer damaged kids lives
Foster carer 'damaged' kids' lives

A foster carer and youth worker who abused three boys in his care was not charged when one of his teenage victims went to police in the 1990s because his sole claim had not been deemed enough to warrant an extradition.

Details of why Roderick Alexander Finch, now 55, was not charged with a child sex offence when he molested a 16-year-old boy on community service camp were revealed in his sentencing submissions today for 21 sex crimes against three youths.

Finch, who has pleaded guilty to all the charges, was described as genuinely remorseful and now admitted he had destroyed the lives of vulnerable children he had a chance to help.

The District Court was told Finch had carried out his crimes while working as a juvenile justice officer supervising children for the WA government and also a registered foster carer.

One teenage victim was under his foster care and repeatedly sexually abused between 1991 and 1993.

Another was also in his foster care and was deemed "special needs" while repeatedly abused by Finch between 1991 and 1992, eventually prompting him to run away.

The 16-year-old who went to police was on a weekend camp between 1991-93 as part of community service when he woke to find Finch molesting him.

Today, Judge Felicity Davis queried what had happened when the abused boy had gone to police, with the prosecution explaining that because there had been no other allegations against Finch at the time and he had moved to Queensland before the investigation closed the only way to charge him was to extradite him - a move that was not seen as warranted for one charge of indecent dealing.

Finch's employment with juvenile justice services was terminated by this stage.

"It wasn't pursued at that time ... he was not charged at that time," the prosecutor said.

The allegations from the other two victims had emerged recently.

Finch plied his victims with alcohol during the pattern of abuse, and told one victim that no one would believe the allegations if the boy complained because of his role.

Defence lawyer Jeremy Noble said his client had admitted he would have destroyed the boys' lives.

"I can only pray for forgiveness from the court, from God and the innocent victims," Finch told his lawyer.

"I had the chance to help these kids and I didn't help them at all ... I damaged them."

Finch suffered two strokes and tried to commit suicide after being charged.

The court was told Finch's own background was marred by tragedy and unhappiness.

The youngest of six children born interstate, he had been musically gifted and severely bullied by boys at a nearby home as a child.

Behavioural problems emerged and as a teenager he was sent behind bars and transferred to a reforestation camp, during which he was raped by older and bigger males.

He established a music school before a later tragedy saw a nine-year-old passenger in his car killed when Finch rolled his car while driving a group of friends - an event that haunted him for many years and eventually saw him try to make a fresh start by moving to WA.

The prosecution submitted he had committed a grave breach of trust.

Finch also had a conviction in Queensland for possession of child pornography and had another current charge in that State for possession of objectionable material, which he was fighting.

Finch conceded he faced a lengthy jail term when sentenced next Friday.

The West Australian

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