A MAN who had sexual relationships with six girls – four of them his daughters and two he raised as his own – was sentenced to 17 years’ jail yesterday.
Townsville District Court yesterday heard the 53-year-old man, who cannot be named because it would identify his victims, was guilty of six counts of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child, sexual assault, four counts of rape and four counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16 years against six girls over a period of about 17 years.
The abuse continued for several years with all the girls and ranged from when they were as young as three to 14, the Townsville Bulletin said.
Passing sentence, Judge Stuart Durward described the man’s crimes as “heinous” and “emotional brutality”, given his systematic abuse over the years and his threats that the family would be separated if any of the girls ever spoke about “their little secret”.
Judge Durward said the girls were shocked when they heard their sisters had also been abused, having all been sworn to secrecy.
The judge said the only way the daughters realised their siblings had also been abused was after a complaint was made in January 2008 by one of the girls and, once she approached her sisters about it, she realised they had also been abused.
“That any man could subject his daughters to such abuse defies rational understanding or explanation,” Judge Durward said.
“Each of the complainants have been deprived of the joy of a truly loving and emotionally and physically secure childhood.”
Judge Durward said once one girl reached her teenage years and stood up to her father, he would stop and then target his sexual deviance towards the next eldest daughter and so the cycle would continue.
Judge Durward said the victims’ words summed up the gravity of the offences.
The judge read to the court a quote from one of the daughters about the effects the abuse had on her mental well-being.
“In 2006 when I was in Normanton, I started cutting myself with a razor blade on my wrists,” he read.
“The only way I can describe it is that I’d rather have the pain on my wrists than in my heart.”
Another daughter said in her victim impact statement she felt like her father “stole our innocence”.
“If I pretended it didn’t happen, then I could be normal just like other kids at school,” Judge Durward read to the court.
“My childhood was miserable, I never had peace in my life. I was always living in fear.”
A third daughter wrote when she was young, she thought the abuse was normal because her father told her it was called “making love”.
“I used to wonder if this happened to my friends at school too,” she wrote.
Judge Durward classified the man as a serious violent offender, meaning he will be required to spend at least 80 per cent of his sentence behind bars.