Stepfather jailed after guilty plea to incest charges

A PORTLAND district farmer who twice took advantage of his teenage stepdaughter and had sex with her more than 40 years ago has been jailed for four years.

The man, now in his 80s, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool County Court last week to two counts of incest. 

He cannot be named, to protect his victim’s identity.

The man was jailed for a total effective sentence of four years and will have to serve 21 months before being eligible for parole.

Judge Paul Grant said incest was a very serious breach of the law and a gross breach of trust.

He said that a victim impact statement read to the court showed the stepdaughter had suffered enormously.

The judge said it had been the man’s role to support and protect his stepdaughter.

Judge Grant said the victim had lost her innocence and then, as a result of the offending, her career, family and health.

She now suffers a major depressive illness, has been on a disability pension since February 2001 had clearly suffered greatly, Judge Grant said.

The judge said he accepted the defendant was ashamed and remorseful, that there had been an understandable delay in the case coming to court and the now elderly man was unlikely to reoffend. 

The court heard the stepfather also suffers a range of medical conditions.

Judge Grant said jail would be particularly onerous for the man but due to the seriousness of his crimes an immediate jail term had to be imposed.

In recounting the offending, Judge Grant said that in 1969-70 the man was aged 38 to 40 years old and the victim 17 to 19. 

He said the offending happened at a Portland district family farm.

In 1997 the woman confronted her stepfather about what had happened. 

In August 2000 she again confronted him, this time in the presence of her sisters and her mother.

The stepfather initially denied the offences but later made admissions to assaulting the woman. 

In December 2012 the matters were reported to police.

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