One boy’s hell at the hands of a teen sex predator
A BEAUTIFUL boy with incredibly sad eyes.
These are the first things that strike you about David.
The 12-year-old blonde-haired blue-eyed lad used to laugh a lot but dark and deadly thoughts wreak havoc on his 12-year-old mind these days.
Graduating from primary school on Tuesday, the youngster should have been celebrating with his mates and dreaming of the long lazy summer break ahead.
Instead David spent his big day wondering what sentence a Brisbane District Court judge would hand the manipulative and calculating teenage sex predator who stole his innocence.
"Sometimes I wish I didn't have to live after what happened," David says.
"It's made me feel like hurting myself, even wishing I was dead.
"Before this happened to me, I was so happy and now I'm sad most of the time.
"I have angry outbursts at my family that I didn't have before and I don't know why."
David is one of three Ipswich boys struggling to find solace after they were preyed on and abused by the affable yet "narcissistic" teenager who went out of his way to maintain strong relationships with their parents so they trusted him to be alone with their kids.
What David doesn't know is the abuse could have stopped many months earlier if police, the accused's parents or the facilitators of a youth justice conference had taken action when complaints against him were aired - twice.
Instead, a police caution, the rejection of an application to attend the youth justice conference sessions and ongoing indifference from his mother and father meant the teenager got no psychiatric help and no one was warned about his predatory behaviour.
But none of this means anything to David who is wracked by anger, confusion and guilt after the three-year cycle of torment.
"Every time something happens to my family I feel that it's my fault for the stress that I have caused them," he says.
"Sometimes I even blame myself for the death of my sister because it stressed my mum out and she had the baby early.
"I hate seeing how upset my mum gets because of this."
David, like the other boys, grew up in average suburban house in an average suburban neighbourhood, watched over lovingly by his parents and forging strong bonds with his sister and brother.
He was well regarded by his classmates and teachers and once loved nothing more than whiling away the weekends with his neighbourhood chums.
One of those chums was a friendly beefy 14-year-old who lived two doors down.
"We let him (the abuser) into our home," David's mother says.
"We trusted him with our son.
"We became good friends with his family - they used to play Xbox while we (the parents) were out the front having a cigarette."
His mother was shocked to see her happy-go-lucky eldest child - who was seven at the time - start to turn inward, his laughter replaced by rage and his joy for life overtaken by thoughts of death.
"My son was an amazing boy - he was kind, he was caring, he would do anything for anyone," she says.
"Then all of a sudden his behaviour changed and he got suspended from school.
"It was out of character, I thought it was him just being a little naughty boy.
"It wasn't like him - he became really angry and withdrawn.
"Now I have an arsehole of a son - his behaviour has been off the charts."
While David is receiving intensive weekly psychotherapy, his mother worries that one day the trauma will become too much for him.
"We've got David on suicide watch," she says.
David's mother and the mums of the other two victims cried and hugged each other as they heard the accused's history of offending read out in court this week.
There were gasps of shock as the women learned how the tall, heavily built, ruddy faced young man sitting in the dock started watching pornography at the age of 11 and two years later began photographing the genitals of his victims.
Over the next 36 months, the offending progressed to touching and eventually to forcing himself on them and making them do the same things to him.
Crown prosecutor Chris Cook revealed the offender showed no remorse or empathy for his victims when he met with the psychologist responsible for his pre-sentence report.
Mr Cook described the 18-year-old as a manipulative and exploitative individual who was motived entirely by "sexual gratification".
"He described himself as the king of manipulators who took pride in that description," Mr Cook told the court.
"He had child exploitation material hidden in a password-protected folder on his phone which shows he knew what he was doing was wrong.
"He violated the trust of the families.
"This was exploitative behaviour and manipulative behaviour."
Defence counsel Phil Hardcastle told the court the young man had never been physically abused but his father allowed him to view heterosexual and homosexual pornography from age 11.
He said this early interest in graphic movies was the key factor behind his client's obsession with sex and male children.
"Your honour, when people watch that rubbish they seem to grow attached to it and seem to take further opportunities to enlarge on that to the monster that is created," Mr Hardcastle said.
Mr Hardcastle said if his client had received treatment when police first questioned him, it was likely the offending would have stopped.
Judge Paul Smith agreed, saying the accused's parents should have sought clinical help in 2013.
"If he'd been dealt with back then he might have got treatment," Judge Smith said.
He ordered the retail worker serve a two-year suspended sentence, with probation and a conditional release order, for 17 offences including multiple counts of indecent treatment of a child; sodomy; and possessing and making child exploitation material.
Convictions were recorded for the most serious offences.
The teenager faces two years behind bars if he breaches the parole or release orders.
Judge Smith took into account the teenager's youth, his guilty pleas and his prospects for rehabilitation when sentencing.
Watching her son's abuser laugh and joke with his relatives as he walked from the courtroom, David's mother cried, saying the boys would spend the rest of their lives paying the price of their abuser's torment.
"What justice do our kids get?" she asked.
"They don't get any justice."