‘Serious danger to community’: Man’s heinous act on child
A SEX offender described as a “serious danger to the community” has been jailed on a historic child abuse charge.
Peter Raymond Cooney showed little emotion as details of his historic offending, committed more than 20 years ago, were read to the court.
The 42-year-old Emerald man pleaded guilty at Brisbane District Court on Thursday to one count of indecent treatment of a child under 16 who was under 12.
Crown prosecutor Sandra Cupina said Cooney’s actions did not come to light until April last year.
That month, he confessed to police he had indecently touched a young boy in Rockhampton in the 1990s, prompting a police investigation.
The victim could name only one occasion between 1992 and 1995 where Cooney reached under his shorts and touched his penis as they walked along the riverbank.
At the time, the victim was between five to eight years old. Cooney was about 13 to 15 years old.
Since he was 18, Cooney has accumulated a criminal history that includes serious sexual offences, arson and wilful damage.
In 2015, he pleaded guilty at Gladstone District Court to a raft of charges, including indecent treatment of a child, unlawful stalking and bomb hoax.
Cooney was released from prison in 2017 under strict conditions but is now serving a continuing detention order because of his status as a dangerous offender.
Defence lawyer Clare O’Connor said Cooney was genuinely remorseful for his actions and was seeking psychological help in custody.
“His father was close with him and sought to manage him, and now that he’s died that source of support has fallen away,” Ms O’Connor said.
Judge Brian Devereaux sentenced Cooney to 81 days in jail and declared time served.
For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.