Abusive Dad's Confession Kept Secret by Priest
August 14, 2008,23599,24181791-2,00.html

A FATHER who sexually abused his one-year-old daughter confessed to a minister but the matter was never reported to police.

The man, who cannot be named, told police of his crimes after further abusing the girl when she was just four.

The Melbourne father told the minister at a small evangelical Christian church that he had committed offences against his young daughter in 2004.

The clergyman allegedly advised the family to stay with him in order to address the offending. The family lived with the minister for about two weeks.

But the father abused his daughter again last year.

He later went to a police station and confessed to the offences.

Clergymen are not subject to mandatory reporting laws.

The man yesterday pleaded guilty to four counts of incest and three of committing an indecent act with a child under 16.

A court heard that initially he sexually abused his daughter while changing her nappy. He also sexually abused his stepson.

In a victim's impact statement to the court, the girl's mother said she was hurt that her husband could behave in such a despicable way.

The court heard that the toddler had suffered thrush and began behaving in a sexualised way.

The man's lawyer said he had been dealing with an internal conflict for many years - on one hand holding deep religious beliefs and on the other being a paedophile.

"It is the case that he has endeavoured to obtain some assistance from those who gave him religious guidance to try to behave in a way other than his paedophilic tendencies would indicate," the defence lawyer said.

"Tragically, for his children, he had failed on a number of occasions in that regard."

His lawyer said his client had not been in trouble with police before and was of otherwise good character.

"He's a person who has an insight into the nature of the offending and the consequences of it," he said.

The prosecutor said it was acknowledged that the man had shown a level of remorse but the offences were at the higher end of the scale for incest.

"He used lollies and other intelligent means to manipulate a very little girl and boy," the prosecutor said.

She said it was an abhorrent breach of trust between a mother and father.

The man has been remanded in custody for sentencing at a later date.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.