Ten years jail for Vietnam vet who sexually abused nieces
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Ten years jail for Vietnam vet who sexually abused nieces

A Vietnam veteran and former police officer has been jailed for 10 years for the historical sexual abuse of his nieces from when they were as young as three years old.

The man's family had confronted him in the 1990s but it wasn't until last year that he faced trial.

In letters to the victims at the time he had apparently made peace with his offending after forgiveness from God, but now at 70 years old claims he was the victim of vexatious allegations.

The man, whose name is suppressed, denied the allegations at trial but a jury found him guilty of five counts of indecent assault and one of carnal knowledge against three victims 30 years ago.

On Friday in the ACT Supreme Court he was finally jailed for the abuse.

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The court heard the man and the children’s grandmother would often babysit the three girls during their childhood at the grandmother’s home in Lyons, or at the offender’s home in Weston.

On one occasion between 1979 and 1981 the uncle was putting one niece to bed and saying goodnight when he put his hands down her pants. She was between 3 and 9 years old.

The man also raped a niece at the Lyons home in the 1980s when she was between 5 and 7 years old by inserting his penis into her genitalia, the court heard.

The judge did not repeat victim impact statements from the three women but said they were eloquent statements of serious, profound and long-lasting harm suffered by each.

The man was born in Sweden in 1948 and aged between 30 and 37 when he committed the abuse.

He worked in the department of defence before serving in the Australian Army, including in Vietnam in 1969.

He also worked as a constable in the Commonwealth police force from 1970 and until 1977, when he left as a result of workplace stress and symptoms of mental illness.

The court heard he had cared for his sister and helped pay her rent and for a mobility scooter.

But Justice Chrissa Loukas-Karlsson said she had given only limited weight to the references in support of the man's otherwise good character.

The man's family had confronted him in the 1990s about the abuse.

The prosecution said that from the letters he wrote to the victims then it appears that he is at peace with his offending resulting from forgiveness from God".

But he also told a pre-sentence report author that he believed he was the victim of "vexatious" claims.

Justice Loukas-Karlsson sentence the man to10 years imprisonment, setting a non-parole term of six years.

He will be eligible for release in June 2024.

Alexandra Back is a reporter with The Canberra Times

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