Uncle walks free after guilty plea to niece's sexual attacks
IT'S a terrible secret two sisters have lived with since they were young.
More than 30 years ago, from when the pair were only five, they endured years of sexual abuse from their pedophile uncle.
For decades, his crimes against them went unreported - the sisters too ashamed of what happened to tell anyone.
It was only last year the two siblings decided to take action to have their uncle brought to justice.
At Ipswich District Court yesterday, their uncle stood in the dock to finally answer for what he did.
The Gatton man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victims, pleaded guilty to six counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16.
Crown prosecutor Noel Needham said the sexual abuse began when the then 17-year-old uncle molested his five-year-old niece in 1976.
During the years of abuse that followed, the uncle coerced his young nieces into performing sexual acts on him which included oral sex. The offences took place at least six times over five years.
During the sentencing, each of the sisters read their victim impact statements aloud in court.
Both women said the sexual abuse they suffered had a traumatic effect on their lives and that it was something they would never forget.
"I try to think what my life would have been like had this never happened to me but I will never know," one of the sisters said. "I wish I could have opened up to someone about this but I was too scared.
"Being frightened all your life about something that happened to you is detrimental the physical and emotional growth of yourself as a human being.
"What I have suffered continues to be a burden in my life."
Defence barrister Michael Copley said in the decades since the sexual abuse took place, the man had no criminal history, apart from one vagrancy charge.
Mr Copely said the uncle was married and had raised two children. His adult daughter was in court to support him.
"Whatever aberrations were operating upon my client 30 years ago, have been well and truly put in the past," Mr Copley said. "He is not a danger to children.
"The community no longer has to be protected from my client, he has reformed."
He said the 52-year-old man had been employed by the Lockyer Valley Council but recently resigned after people at work became aware of his charges.
Mr Copley said his client had made admissions and cooperated with police and was remorseful for what he did.
A psychological report done on the man indicated he had been raised in a "dysfunctional family environment" and had been a victim to sexual abuse himself.
In sentencing, Judge Greg Koppenol said that the man had subjected his young nieces to "degrading and vile" conduct for his own sexual gratification.
However Judge Koppenol said he had to take into consideration a number of factors; including the evidence in the psychological report and fact the man had lived a lawful life since the offending.
The uncle was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail.
The sentence was suspended for two years.