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WA childcare worker jailed for abuse

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/08/2016

A Perth childcare worker who sexually abused girls, causing a "devastating ripple effect" on the victims and their families, has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail.

The West Australian District Court heard on Friday that some of the abuse at the childcare centre happened while the man was reading to a group of children on a mat.

The 25-year-old man, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty to sexually penetrating one girl and indecently dealing with four others, aged between two and four, over a period of one year starting in November 2013.

The man will be eligible for parole in June 2017 and is likely to be deported back to New Zealand.

A sixth victim, a nine-year-old girl he knew, was also abused as she slept in a bed and her ordeal was filmed on the man's phone.

Judge Anette Schoombee described the offences at the childcare centre as brazen and a gross breach of trust.

"These children were very vulnerable because of their young age and this also made your offending more difficult to detect because they were not likely at that young age to talk to anyone about it," she said.

"Because the children were so young, this also had a long-lasting emotional effect on the parents as they felt they were to blame for leaving their children at the centre and they had to deal with the worry and concern as to how this offending had affected their children."

In victim impact statements, parents said their previously happy children became withdrawn and clung to their mother, with some stopping work to care full-time for their daughters.

Judge Schoombee noted the man was a high risk of reoffending without treatment, but she accepted he was remorseful and wanted to be rehabilitated.

"You acknowledge that your offending had a devastating ripple effect," she said.

"You say that you are truly sorry and understand how the parents must be feeling.

"You have expressed the hope that the children will somehow be able to forget what happened to them."

But Judge Schoombee said she had to protect the community.

"I need to protect parents who want to feel that they're safe in leaving their children at day care centres and I also need to send a very strong message to other people in the community who might consider offending in similar ways in the future," she said.

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