A PSYCHIATRIC nurse who spent four years sexually abusing his stepdaughter has been sent to prison.
The abuse started in 2007 at a Goodna home when the girl was 13-years-old and ended in 2011 after she refused to partake anymore, eventually confiding in her mother.
The 57-year-old man pleaded guilty on Friday to seven charges related to the abuse in Ipswich District Court, sparing the now 22-year-old the trauma of a trial.
The grooming started with small requests for her to take off her shirt coupled with the threat that if she refused, she wouldn't be given Christmas presents.
The girl complied and as the years went by the abuse escalated until he offered to buy her some hair accessories, but only if she "licked his penis once".
Crown prosecutor Noel Needham told police that after each incident the girl felt guilty and confused.
"She felt what happened was her fault," Mr Needham said.
After each incident the girl would retreat to her bedroom where he would follow her saying he was sorry, once explaining that he "didn't mean for it to go that far".
But the man also repeatedly warned her not to tell anyone about their time together and if she did it would "destroy the family; just remember I love you," he told her.
The court heard the man, whose mother and a close female friend were in the room on Friday to support him, spent the first five years of his life in an orphanage.
Defence lawyer Robert Carroll alluded to a troubled childhood detailed in a report submitted to Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren, but not read aloud in court.
Mr Carroll said, as a child the man suffered low self-esteem and was bullied in school.
Mr Carroll also highlighted extracts from a psychiatrist's report following 13 sessions with the man which stated initially he resisted taking responsibility for his actions.
Throughout the sessions he came to have a greater understanding of the magnitude of his crimes and showed both empathy and remorse, Mr Carroll said.
"His eldest son is not taking this situation well," Mr Carroll said.
"(The defendant) feels a great deal of guilt for that."
Referencing the man's warning it would "break up the family" if she told anyone, Judge Horneman-Wren said threats against the girl appeared to be a feature of the crimes.
"On a young and impressionable mind… that must hang over them as a black cloud," Judge Horneman-Wren said.
"It goes without saying your offending is a gross violation of the trust placed in a parent."
He imposed a head sentence of four and a half years, two years for each of the six counts of indecent treatment of a child and 18 months for one charge of sexual assault.
The man, who was deregistered and barred from working by the Nursing and Midwifery Board last year, will be eligible for parole on January, 22 2018.
The man was taken into police custody following the sentencing.
Editor's note: The man in this story has not been named to protect the victim's identity.
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