AT A TIME when sexual violence in the family home was still a "taboo” topic, a trusted big brother systematically abused his two young sisters while their mother turned a blind eye.
The ultimate betrayal by a 1960s housewife and her predator son would not only destroy the lives of the two little girls they should have instinctively protected but would plant the seed for him to repeat history with his niece decades later.
Details of the horrors which went unchecked in a south-east Queensland home for eight miserable years, were before Brisbane District Court on Wednesday where a 60-year-old Caboolture man was finally exposed as a child rapist.
It came after he was taped admitting to the offending and apologising to one of the sisters in a phone call recorded by police.
Crown Prosecutor Dzenita Balic told the court that between the ages of 10 and 18, the man repeatedly abused his sisters, when they were as young as 7, both at home and on family holidays to Caloundra.
She said he could have been stopped at that young age but in those days sexual abuse was a "taboo issue in the community” at the best of times let alone after an incident where the girl's mother had walked in on her son assaulting his little sister and done nothing.
Instead, the mother warned her daughter she would be "taken away” by authorities and sent to a "children's jail” if she told anyone what had happened.
Years later, when, as Ms Balic said, the man was routinely "using the girls for his own sexual pleasure”, inserting his fingers into their vaginas, making them perform oral sex and masturbating in front of them, the mother walked in on another such incident.
She simply simply warned their father would "kill” them if he found out and walked away.
By the time the man was aged between 16 and 18, his offending had graduated to violent rapes and his youngest sister, aged just 13, bore the brunt of his attacks.
The first time, he grabbed her as she arrived home from school, forcing himself on her while she was still in her uniform, robbing her of her innocence and leaving her on the cement floor crying and with blood running down her legs.
That same sister sobbed in court on Wednesday as a victim impact statement was read on her behalf.
She described laying on train tracks from the time she was as young as nine hoping one would come and "cut below” her waist.
Her marriage to her childhood boyfriend and now husband, who was in court supporting her, was said to have been devastatingly impacted by her attitude towards sex and the abuse had turned her into a "paranoid” mother who stopped her children from enjoying normal activities out of fear someone was going to rape them.
She said she had attempted suicide as recently as last year and continued to seek crisis support from Bravehearts.
She believed she was still alive for the purpose of protecting "the young females in my family” and expressed deep regret at not coming forward before it was too late for one.
That victim was the man's 14-year-old niece who he was in charge of "babysitting” at a Morayfield home when he sexually assaulted her.
He was in his 50s at the time and asked the girl how much money it would take for him to be allowed to touch her. He then rubbed her genitals.
His wife returned from the shops and the girl went to bed where "She cried and locked herself in her room”.
Two months later, the man asked the girl "Would you let me do that again?” but she refused.
She eventually made a complaint to police.
A victim impact statement was also read on behalf of the elder of the man's two sisters.
In it she said she lived a lonely life in Perth and had given up on having a romantic relationship more than 18 years ago because "as soon as there is a sexual demand, I shut down”.
All three victims expressed deep grief in their statements at not being believed by many members of their family both at the time of the offending and to this day.
Defence barrister David Crews said his client had himself been sexually abused by a priest when he was a child and those events combined with a fear of his strict, alcoholic stepfather led him to take out his frustrations on his sisters.
He also said his client had shown deep remorse for his offending even though he apparently had little memory of the events because it happened "a very long time ago”.
In regards to the more recent assault of his niece, Mr Crews described the offence as "not predatory but opportunistic”.
The court heard the man's argument was that his niece had asked for a massage, was not clothed and the temptation was "staring him in the face”.
Describing the lack of action from the man's mother as "disgraceful”, Judge Paul Smith said "if it had been dealt with then, all this could have been stopped”
The man pleaded guilty to incest, rape, indecent treatment of a child and common assault.
He was sentenced to three years in jail for the attacks on his sisters and an additional 12 months for the assault on his niece.
But as the court heard he would only have to serve one year of that sentence behind bars before he was released on supervision, his sister burst into tears and said "No! Bull sh*t! Give him life. He gets 12 months? 12 months for us. For everything.”
The convicted man did not have any supporters in court but he was said to be married to his third wife with whom he had a young child.
His mother is still alive but has never been charged with a criminal offence.
If this story has left you feeling distressed or you need help, please phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Bravehearts on 1800 272 831.
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