‘It’s not fair – they get life and he gets 14 months’
FOUR 11-year-old girls are struggling with night terrors, screaming at their parents and refusing to speak after a convicted sexual abuser inappropriately touched and kissed them.
The former horse riding instructor was only caught when he assaulted one of the girls in front of his then 10-year-old daughter.
The girl then told her mother.
The serial sexual abuser, aged in his 60s, will walk from prison in January after serving 14 months in prison.
The man, who cannot be named in order to protect the girls, pleaded guilty in the Southport District Court to 12 counts of indecent treatment of a child under 12.
When Judge Jennifer Rosengren said the man's three-and-a-half-year prison term would be suspended after 14 months, two of the girls' mothers burst into tears.
"That's pretty much a month for each charge," she said tearfully outside court.
"That's not enough."
The court was told the four girls were friends with the man's daughter.
When they stayed at his house, he touched the girls' buttocks, kissed them all on the lips and made one perform an act with a sex toy between February 17 and October 29 last year. The girls were 10 at the time.
One of the mums said outside court that her daughter refuses to talk about what happened as it made her "feel disgusting".
"It's not fair - they get life and he gets 14 months," she said.
The court was told one of the four girls suffered night terrors and all were frequently upset or withdrawn.
"Who knows what is going to happen in the future and how it will affect them," the mother of a victim said.
The two mums said their daughters had described the man as a "cool dad".
One mum said he became friendly with the girls when picking his own daughter up and began to bring them gifts and tell them he loved them.
"It's not like in the movies, he was a normal guy," she said.
The mums said they blamed themselves for not recognising what was happening.
"The reality is the guilt should be solely on him," Judge Rosengren told the mothers during the man's sentencing.
She said she hoped the man appreciated the flow-on effects of his conduct.
Judge Rosengren said one of the girls would scream at her parents if the topic was brought up.
In 2015, a Gold Coast jury convicted the man of inappropriately touching and kissing a 10-year-old girl when he gave her horse riding lessons. When he was on bail for that offence he breached his bail conditions more than 40 times by emailing the girl's sister.
Yesterday, Judge Rosengren said she took into account a letter the man had written which recognised he needed to get help.
She also ordered he be placed on probation for three years once released with the condition he undergo a sexual offending treatment program.