A FOSTER parent who indecently assaulted a child in his care has been convicted and fined $5000.
Gordon Attrill, 62, of Mitchell Street, Warrnambool, faced Warrnambool Magistrates Court on a single count of indecent assault against the young woman.
Attrill pleaded guilty on Wednesday after contesting the charges in June this year.
Magistrate Ron Saines told the accused he betrayed the trust of a vulnerable child entrusted into his care.
“This was a breach of trust upon a vulnerable child who was entitled to your trust and protection,” Mr Saines told the accused.
The court heard that in June last year Attrill touched the girl in her bedroom while his wife and foster mother to the victim was away.
In a victim impact statement read out to the court, the girl said she had been forced to move home and change schools after the offence.
“I cried a lot and I get really upset about what Gordon did ... Gordon was meant to look after me, not hurt me,” her statement said.
The victim also has an intellectual disability, further aggravating the charges.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Paul Harris urged the court to impose a prison sentence.
“It’s open to the court that it was not a spontaneous offence. It’s open to the court that the accused knew exactly when his wife would be away and took the opportunity when it arose,” Senior Constable Harris said.
During contest mention defence counsel for Attrill claimed the victim had made up the story.
On Wednesday defence counsel Michael Turner argued the offence was a low-level assault and said Attrill had no prior criminal history.
“It was an isolated incident. The offence itself was spontaneous. There was no planning. We would say it was totally out of character,” Mr Turner said.
He said Attrill and his wife had cared for foster children for 27 years.
“They have cared for more than 60 children over that period of time. His previous good character has been compromised by this offence,” he said.
In his sentencing remarks, Mr Saines noted Attrill’s plea of guilty came “only at the end of the prosecution case ... and that involved the cross-examination of vulnerable witnesses”.
Attrill will be placed on the sex offenders’ register for eight years.