A 36-YEAR-OLD Gladstone foster carer and youth worker has been sent to prison after pleading guilty to initiating and maintaining sexual relationships with two underage girls in his care.
Judge Michael Burnett handed down a nine and a half year sentence in Rockhampton District Court yesterday and deemed the man a worse offender than a parent carrying out a similar offence with their own child.
The offending took place over two two-year periods, starting in 2010. Both victims were 12-years-old when he initiated the abuse.
Read the victim's story here: Victims traumatised for life, abuser gets nine years
The offender was aged between 29 and 34 at the time meaning there was a 16-year and 18-year age difference between himself and the two girls.
Judge Burnett said the offender carried out every sexual act with the two victims that was normal for two consenting adults, plus more.
He said he acted in a paedophilic way, grooming the relationship between himself and the victims.
"She was far too young to understand what you were seeking from her," Judge Burnett said.
The acts between the offender and the first victim came to an end when she was placed in other accommodation - a youth accommodation facility in Gladstone.
"That's where you were introduced to the second complainant," Judge Burnett said.
The man included deception with both victims, declaring his love for them and telling them he had terminal cancer.
Judge Burnett also referred to the offender's actions falsifying workplace documents to justify the amount of time he was spending with the victims and to a psychologist's analysis submitted by defence barrister, Scott Moon.
Read the defence's case here: Foster carer had his own troubled childhood and sexual abuse
Judge Burnett said while the report outlined the offender's own issues, none of it showed cause as to why he had committed the offences.
"This is a significant breach of trust against socially vulnerable and dislocated young women," he said.
"It's troubling that you did seek to portray (victim two) as the sexual aggressor."
The charges carried a maximum sentence of life in prison. He will be eligible for parole in July, 2020.
Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said this case was extremely disturbing and a complete breach of trust.
"We treat all allegations of abuse of children in care with sensitivity, take them extremely seriously and investigate them immediately," she said.
"Queensland already has one of the nation's most stringent working with children checks, and there is currently an expert panel lead by the Queensland Family and Child Commission looking at ways it can be improved and strengthened further.
"It is due to report back to government later this year."
HE took their virginity, their innocence and left them with a lifetime of post traumatic stress.
The Gladstone man pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton District Court yesterday for maintaining sexual relationship with two children under the age of 16. Both were wards of the state at the time.
The victims, who had the courage to sit through the legal proceedings, spoke with The Morning Bulletin after their abuser received a nine and a half year jail term. He will be eligible for parole in July, 2020.
Victim one, who was 12-years-old and a foster child when the man first approached her, said while she felt good he was in jail, she was annoyed he didn't get a longer sentence.
"He sat there and smiled at us (during the court proceedings)," she said.
The girl had been placed in the man's home with his family and had initially felt safe and like she belonged to a family.
"I was a foster child since I was six and I was forever being moved from house to house. You can already understand the confusion a 12-year-old would be living. The confusion slowly stopped, life was going good."
That was before the abuse began in early 2010.
She said she has no self confidence as a result of the abuse, which took place over a two-year period about four times a week.
After about a year living in the house, the girl began self harming and not long after that, she was moved into the youth accommodation where the man also worked.
"When I think back to these events I often question myself if I will ever be able to recover the severe trauma and heartache I have experienced," she said.
"I have so much doubt and insecurities. I hate that the events had turned me into a different person. I was angry, violent, emotionally and physically unstable. I lashed out and didn't care anymore. I thought the world was against me.
"I felt that hurting others gave me control, like he had control of me. It has taken me a very long time to work on my anger and hatred for authority because he had such a dominant position over me. I felt as if I could not escape the mind games and controlling factor he played."
The second victim, who had two pregnancy scares during the course of the abuse, said she now feels safe after her abuser's incarceration.
"It's just so much closure for me. I haven't been dealing with it lately because its (court) come up."
She said it took her a long time to tell anyone about the abuse, mainly because she was a 'troubled child' and thought no one would believe her.
"I want people to know they can speak up and people will believe them," she said.
However, it's not all positive for her.
"He gets nine years jail," she said. "I get a life time of trauma."
She was 14 when she realised how wrong the situation was and that's when she became consumed with thoughts of shame, guilt and blame.
"My thoughts were consumed with 'why didn't I stop this man'," she said. "Did I do something to cause this? Its probably my fault. I'm not loveable."
DEFENCE barrister, Scott Moon painted a picture of a troubled childhood that started with the offender's grandfather shooting dead his grandmother and his father becoming 'loopy' as a result.
This is where it all started to go wrong for a man who pleaded guilty to maintaining sexual relationships with two girls under the age of 16 - both wards of the state.
"His own parents separated early in life," Mr Moon said.
"His grandfather shot his grandmother and she died. This caused his father to go 'loopy' and 'off the rails'."
Mr Moon said it was not long after this that his client lost contact with his biological father and by the time he was four, his mother had remarried.
He said his client and his stepfather did not get along and there was a long history of physical abuse, which had impacted his client's psychological state today.
He said his client changed schools a lot growing up as a result of being expelled - he acted out to the physical abuse inflicted by his stepfather and his mother was cold and made him feel rejected growing up.
He described a man who had a problem with alcohol growing up after his friend's suicide and was kicked out of home and taken under the wing of a friend's family.
Mr Moon submitted a psychologist's report, which included a claim he was raped by three men while working in security.
However, the court heard the claim was never reported to police or any other officials as he was ashamed and humiliated about it. Mr Moon said it was around the same time as this that his other grandmother died, which added to his distress.
Mr Moon said the man had made full admissions to police in relation to the offences before the court.
"As an adult, he accepts full responsibility," he said.
The victims were not subjected to cross examination nor required to give evidence in court.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.