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Qld criminologist jailed for sex abuse

AAP logoAAP 23/11/2016

A Queensland criminologist has been jailed for brazen and persistent sexual abuse of a young girl in the 1970s.

Paul Wilson, 75, first assaulted the victim when she was aged eight at his Brisbane home in Indooroopilly and only stopped when she moved away from the area.

The now-retired former academic and high-profile criminologist played blindfolded games of hide-and-seek with her and forced her to take her clothes off when he caught her.

Some of the abuse was carried out while other children and an adult were in the house.

In one incident he lay naked on his bed with a cat covering his genitals before removing it and forcing the girl to stroke his penis.

He also digitally penetrated her and assaulted her in his bedroom, telling her “Percy is coming to play”, which was a nickname for his genitals.

She was repeatedly forced to dance naked for Wilson while he touched himself and he also made her touch another girl for his own sexual gratification.

In another incident, he groped the girl while she was in the family’s swimming pool, putting his hands under her bikini bottoms.

Judge Julie Dick sentenced Wilson to 18 months imprisonment suspended after six months.

Judge Dick said the offending was persistent, brazen and involved the corruption of a child "of tender years".

“This was a child, somebody else’s child in the neighbourhood who was visiting,” she said.

“You being an older man had some authority and power over her.”

“She has suffered this over a long number of years and the trial itself was traumatic for her."

She accepted the defendant had led an "admirable life" but added: "No one knows what happens behind closed doors".

Wilson was convicted after a retrial at Brisbane Supreme Court of four counts of indecent treatment of a child between 1973 and 1976.

Prosecutor Phil McCarthy described him as brazen and manipulative, and said he had used his position of standing in the community to corrupt the young girl.

The abuse continues to have a significant effect on the victim, who was “very young and sexually naive” at the time, he said.

Defence barrister Peter Davis QC said Wilson, awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his contribution to education, had lived a “full, successful, busy and conventional life” as a university professor.

He has suffered a “very public fall from grace”, he added.

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