A Kingston SE man in his 80s will likely die in prison after he was sentenced for sexually abusing children across 30 years. 

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was sentenced in the District Court in Mount Gambier on Friday to 25 years in jail, with a non-parole period of 20 years, for nine counts of the persistent sexual exploitation of a child. 

He appeared in court via video link from prison, where he looked at the ground while Judge Rauf Soulio gave an overview of his offending, which started in the early 1980s and continued until 2012. 

In sentencing, Judge Soulio said the offending was a gross misuse of trust by the man when he was looking after the children. 

He said while the man would likely spend the rest of his life in prison, his family and victims would “live with the burden” of the offending for the rest of their lives. 

Children told to stay quiet 

Judge Soulio told the court some of the man’s victims were as young as five when he first abused them, with the offending towards some continuing into their teenage years. 

He told his victims not to tell their parents about the abuse, saying no-one would believe them due to their age. 

Rauf Soulio says the man abused trust placed in him to look after the children.(ABC News: James Wakelin)

The man was arrested in December 2022 when one of his victims disclosed the abuse to his family, with eight more individuals later telling police their stories. 

He pleaded guilty to the offences in the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court in September last year. 

Despite his eventual guilty plea, Judge Soulio said the man’s initial comments to police showed “arrogance” and blamed the victims for his actions. 

One victim impact statement described how the abuse had caused a range of mental health issues and led to self-harm. 

Another described how she always wanted to be near her parents, to avoid having to spend time alone with the man. 

The man was leader of a local Scouts group and a team manager at a football club, although Judge Soulio acknowledged no allegations of misconduct had been made against the man in relation to those positions.

In sentencing, Judge Soulio said the man had begun to show some remorse, but it came after a long history of offending while in a position of trust. 

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