A Hamilton man who sexually assaulted two young boys he befriended in the south-west has been jailed for 10 years.
Steven Whennen, 36, of Coleraine Road, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool County Court to three charges of sexual penetration of a child under 16.
One of the charges related to three occasions where he sexually assaulted a child under the age of 12 at a display train in Hamilton and once at a disabled toilet.
The second charge related to more than 10 incidents at a business, a sporting complex and Whennen’s home.
The third charge was against a second victim at the same business.
Whennen was sentenced to 10 years’ jail with a non-parole period of seven years.
He was placed on the sex register for life.
Magistrate Gerard Mullaly said Whennen was unrelenting and had engaged in “dreadful offending against vulnerable children".
He said the community was horrified that such acts on children could occur.
Whennen was previously convicted of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child in 2003, and was placed on a court order with conditions he do 200 hours of unpaid community work.
Mr Mullaly said the sentence was merciful.
In 2012 Whennen invited the first victim into a display train in Hamilton and sexually assaulted him.
The sexual assault continued at various locations over three years.
Then on April 8, 2017 Whennen was at a skate park when it started to rain.
He took shelter with a 12-year-old boy and began speaking with him about bikes and cars.
He invited the boy into his caravan that was parked at a nearby business and sexually assaulted him.
Detective Acting Sergeant Blake Amos read a victim impact statement in court.
The boy said his life had been turned upside down.
He said he had to take medication in order to get to sleep and that some days he couldn’t go to school and just wanted to be alone.
“Talking to detectives isn’t something any 12-year-old kid should have to go through,” the victim wrote.
“This should not have happened.”
Outside the court, Detective Acting Sergeant Amos said the sentence saw the end of a nightmare chapter for two families.
“I honestly have never met such strong, courageous and brave victims that came forward to police in relation to this,” he said.
“I now hope they can move forward with their lives.”
Whennen has spent 510 days in custody on remand.