A former Wellington teacher has been jailed for five years and four months for the historical sexual abuse of his two daughters, who grew up in a “climate of fear”.
The man, now 80, cannot be named to protect his victims’ privacy. He had initially denied sexually abusing the girls in the 1970s and 1980s, opting initially for a jury trial.
But he pleaded guilty in March to 11 charges of committing indecent acts, indecent assault and attempting to pervert the course of justice. Three charges of incest, rape and indecent assault against a disabled daughter were dismissed.
He touched the girls while he was alone with them, while his wife was at work.
READ MORE: Trial ends as former teacher changes plea to guilty
The women’s abuser sat throughout the sentencing, occasionally shaking his head.
The girls were both under 16 during the periods he abused them. For one of them, it started at age six.
The crimes carried a sentence for his victims: “The court has heard in detail – and eloquently, if I may so – the devastating impact of your offending on your two daughters,” Judge Stephen Harrop said.
The man had caused one of his daughters, in particular, serious emotional issues, including post traumatic stress disorder. She had also been in trouble with the police during her lifetime.
“Clearly, she blames you for effectively ruining her life,” Judge Harrop said
The judge said the girls had grown up in a “climate of fear” – plied with alcohol by their father who abused them secretly while his wife was at work.
The man also admitted perverting the course of justice after initially denying that charge last year. He had sent a text to the victims, pretending to be another person; labelling the women gutless and accusing them of destroying their relationship with their parents.
He then purchased another phone to send another text message, claiming to be a nurse caring for his wife, saying she was suffering because of her daughters’ court proceedings.
This was “manipulative,” Judge Harrop said.
“I would describe this as a clear, guilt-based prod to both of the victims to whom you sent this, not to pursue the complaints or not to give evidence.”
His ten years of abuse were aggravated by premeditation and planning, hiding it from his wife, the childrens’ vulnerability, and a breach of their trust.
“What you did is the very antithesis of being a good father and your daughters were left in a position where they had no means of escape from what you were doing for your own sexual gratification.”
In his teaching career he had carried out a community service, but it was in direct contrast to the way he was treating his daughters.
“You were prepared to sacrifice their innocence and future development for your own gratification.”
The judge did not accept a suggestion by the man’s lawyer, Brett Crowley, that a jail sentence of between two-and-a-half and four years was appropriate.
He noted his declaration of remorse and apologies but pointed out the text messages suggested otherwise and declined to discount his sentence.
The judge noted his age made it unlikely he continued to pose a risk and that his daughters would rather see him acknowledge his guilt than see him go to prison. He gave him a small discount for his eventual guilty plea.
Harrop sentenced the man to five years and four months’ imprisonment.