Treatment of 11yo girl ‘shameful’

A MAN who sexually abused an 11-year-old was slammed yesterday for his “shameful treatment” of the girl.

County Court judge Marilyn Harbison said Jeffrey Hutson’s actions against a young, defenceless victim meant the only option was to jail him.

Judge Harbison also criticised the girl’s father for allowing her to be left alone with Hutson in his Wangaratta home.

“Her father’s failure to provide supervision of his child gave you the opportunity to abuse her,” she told Hutson in Wodonga yesterday.

The court was told Hutson continued to board with — and have the support of — the girl’s father.

Hutson showed no emotion when sentenced yesterday to 21 months behind bars.

Hutson sexually abused the girl after climbing on top of her on three occasions at her father’s Wangaratta house two years ago.

Hutson was clothed each time he pulled down her underwear and started rubbing his body against hers.

Hutson, now 48, was 46 at the time of the offences.

A jury convicted Hutson of three counts of indecent assault on a child under 16. He was found not guilty of five other charges involving allegations of sexual penetration.

Hutson will be eligible for parole after just nine months.

Judge Harbison said she had set a shorter than usual non-parole period to ensure a start was made as early as possible to rehabilitate Hutson.

But Hutson’s failure to show remorse might still put parole out of reach — a requirement of jail parole programs is admitting offences.

The girl moved to her father’s home in early 2011 from Queensland where she had lived with her mother.

Judge Harbison said she was willing to accept Hutson’s offending was at the lower end of the sexual offences scale, describing the acts as “spur of the moment”.

“I accept there is no evidence she was crying or upset after the offending,” she said.

Judge Harbison warned Hutson that, on release, he must adhere to any reporting conditions required in being a registered sex offender for life.

Hutson — a short, stout man with collar-length black hair and a grey beard — again did not react to his sentence.

Judge Harbison made note of the victim impact statements from the girl and her mother.

Specifically, she referred to the youngster’s comments that she was now “clingy” with her mother and no longer liked to be hugged or kissed.

Hutson was described as someone of low intelligence — but not intellectually disabled — although he clearly understood it was wrong to sexually abuse a child.