Paedophile priest David Rapson told to expect shorter jail term

By Adam Cooper
May 4, 2015

David Rapson leaves the Magistrates Court in 2012.
Photo by Justin McManus

Paedophile priest David Rapson has been told by a judge he can expect a shorter jail sentence to the one imposed before a retrial was ordered.

Rapson was in 2013 jailed for 13 years, and to serve a minimum 10 years, for attacks on eight students at two Victorian schools, but those convictions were last year quashed on appeal and he was freed from custody when the Court of Appeal ordered he face a retrial.

Rapson, 61, was this year found guilty of five charges of rape and six counts of indecent assault, related to attacks on six students between the mid 1970s and 1990. The convictions were imposed by juries who sat in three trials.

The juries were told Rapson assaulted students aged between 12 and 17 after luring them to his office with cigarettes, alcohol and computer games.


A fourth jury found him not guilty of one count of indecent assault.

Rapson was to have been sentenced on Monday, but County Court judge James Parrish delayed imposing a jail term by a week so he could clarify a legal issue with the prosecutor and defence counsel.

But Judge Parrish confirmed he would not impose a jail term greater than the one judge Liz Gaynor did in 2013, because he would be sentencing for offences against six students, two less than in the original trial.

Judge Parrish told Rapson's lawyer his sentence would only have been greater had "dramatic" new evidence emerged.

"You would expect something less than 13 years but in that range," the judge said.

Judge Parrish apologised to those in court for the delay.

Afterwards, the parents of one of men abused as a boy issued a statement that was critical of the Catholic Church and the arm of the church that Rapson belonged to, although it thanked those who had helped their son.

"The abuser is now where he belongs, in jail behind bars," the statement said.

"We thank the people of constant goodwill, the various agencies and institutions for their consistent support and care to our son and his family over the past two and a half years."

The parents said heir son had been provided with counselling, but "with due respect to the Catholic Church leadership and the leadership of the (arm of the church) ... my husband and I lament the absence of practical and pastoral support during our quest to bring healing and stability to our son".

Judge Parrish said he had delayed sentencing to seek clarification on a legal point, and was not critical of the jail term Judge Gaynor imposed.

Rapson, who was defrocked by the church more than a decade ago, was remanded in custody to be sentenced next Monday.


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