70-year-old grandfather jailed for molesting girl
AN ELDERLY man has been jailed for the "opportunistic" molestation of a seven-year-old girl he was caring for while her parents were out of town.
The now 70-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the victim, indecently touched the girl's genitals and asked her to pull her pants down during a four-week visit in May last year.
When spoken to by police, the grandfather of seven admitted his actions.
The man, who lived in the Stanthorpe area at the time of the crimes, told police the girl was doing cartwheels in his yard when he asked her to pull her pants down to show her private parts to him.
The Stanthorpe District Court yesterday heard the girl did as he asked.
On the second and most serious incident, the girl was sitting on the man's lap when he began to rub her vagina, both inside and outside her underwear.
The court heard the assault lasted for about five minutes and ceased when the girl said "stop".
In a separate incident about a month later, the now eight-year-old and her older sister returned to the man's house for a visit.
He approached his victim while she was playing and asked her to again pull her pants down, this time so he could take a photo.
The girl refused and told the man she would get into trouble.
Judge Julie Ryrie yesterday spoke of her relief that the young girl left the room immediately following this request.
"Fortunately, even at her young age, she had the good sense to know what you were trying to do to her was not right and she removed herself," she said.
Her honour also scolded the man on his behaviour, telling him he "should have known better".
The court heard the man, who has since moved from the area, suffers from such health and mental issues as Parkinson's disease and depression.
Defence barrister Robbie Davies also told the court the man's age alone meant jail would be more difficult than usual for his client.
The man pleaded guilty to two counts of the indecent treatment of a child in his care and one attempted indecent treatment of a child in his care.
Judge Ryrie took the man's early plea of guilty, lack of criminal history and co-operation into consideration in sentencing.
She sentenced the man to 10 months jail, to be suspended after serving three months behind bars.