FILE
FILE Claudia Baxter

Girl suffers decade of sexual abuse at hands of grandfather

A SUNSHINE Coast grandfather who sexually abused his granddaughter for 10 years has been jailed.

The now-80-year-old man, pleaded on Thursday in Maroochydore District Court to five charges relating to acts of sexual abuse against his granddaughter, committed from 2003 to 2013, from when the girl was 5- to 15-years-old.

The court heard the man touched the little girl inappropriately, and had her touch him; he watched her in the shower, kissed her on the mouth and rubbed his genitals against her.

The abuse happened most frequently between 2004-2008, when the man and his wife were living with the little girl's family and helping to care for their grandchildren.

It continued between 2008-2013 during school holidays when the girl and her siblings would go to stay with their grandparents.

Crown prosecutor Rebecca Marks said the sexualising acts happened so often that the victim lost count of how many times they happened over the 10 year period.

Now an adult, Ms Marks said the impact of the years of abuse at the hands of her grandfather had inflicted lasting consequences on the young woman.

"She says that she is still discovering all the ways that the abuse has hurt her, set her life on the wrong course and destroyed her normal childhood, teenage years and young adulthood that everyone deserves," Ms Marks said.

The "brazen offending", she said, occurred when other family members were nearby, sometimes when the girl's grandmother was sleeping in another room or in the shower, and sometimes in the presence of other children.

"It was one of the most serious breaches of trust - that of the grandfather granddaughter relationship - particularly in circumstances where the relationship was otherwise strong and the children were often left in his care," Ms Marks said.

"... he took advantage of her young age and her vulnerability and exploited his position of trust as her natural grandfather while she was in his care, for his own gratification," Ms Marks said.

Barrister David James said his client had made admissions to police early on about many of the allegations of abuse.

"But he did try to lessen the circumstances of how that occurred ... and suggested on some it was accidental," he said.

He said the old man, who was recently treated for bladder cancer, had insisted his granddaughter not be cross examined at any point, so as to spare her having to relive the events.

Judge Douglas McGill said references tendered to the court described the man as being well-regarded in the community, and the revelations of the abuse had caused great distress to his family.

"The community, acting through the court, denounces the sort of conduct in which you were involved," he said.

He sentenced the man to five years in prison, with the remainder of his sentence to be suspended after serving 18 months.

The balance of the jail term would hang over his head for five years.



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