Paedophile ordered to pay victim $2.4m

Updated Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:20am AEDT

A paedophile music teacher has been ordered to pay one of his victims just over $2.4 million in damages after a judge found he had been “crippled” by his psychiatric injuries.

But a barrister for the plaintiff said although it was a large sum, no amount of money would ever be enough.

Gary Maxwell Featherstone, who lived in Sydney’s north, pleaded guilty to 12 sex offences involving indecent acts against four boys aged between 11 and 14 in the 1980s.

He is serving a minimum jail term of seven years.

On Friday, NSW Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum awarded $2,405,912 in compensation to one victim, referred to only as XY for legal reasons.

Justice McCallum said it was not clear how Featherstone “manoeuvred himself” into the role of a “special friend”, or what checks were undertaken by government officers who entrusted the boy into his care on weekends.

The boy, who was a ward of the state, estimated Featherstone sexually assaulted him about 300 times over a number of years from the age of 11.

The judgment says on the first night he stayed at Featherstone’s home, he was shown a pornographic movie and made to perform sex acts that he was told later were “a secret”.

He said he did not report the abuse to authorities because he “needed the companionship and affection” which he had not received in a “harsh and brutal” boys home.

“His house was like a paradise for kids … he let us have food, lollies and soft drink whenever we wanted,” he said.

“Although I was completely shocked and sickened by his sexual abuse, Featherstone offered me some care and attention that I had been longing for.

“Life with him was the lesser of two evils.”

The victim had also testified that Featherstone “sold” him to another paedophile for six to eight weeks, during which time both men molested him.

Justice McCallum accepted evidence from a psychiatrist’s report that described how XY “began to lacerate himself within six months of the first episode of abuse”.

The judgment says as an adult it remains impossible for XY to have normal relationships.

Justice McCallum awarded high-end-range general damages of $350,000, saying he remained “terribly impaired in many aspects of his life”.

For economic loss, she ordered Featherstone pay the man more than $2 million because “his capacity to obtain employment was insidiously undermined from an early age and … he is now effectively crippled by his psychiatric illnesses”.

The victim also received $795,000 from the state of NSW in February for the injuries and disabilities he suffered.

Pedophile composer jailed 17 years

  • by: David King
  • From: The Australian
  • November 15, 2006 12:00AM

AS the accomplished composer and convicted pedophile Gary Maxwell Featherstone was led from court to the cells yesterday, the mother of one of his young victims lost her temper.

“Hell is too good for you, Featherstone, but go and rot there anyway,” she yelled.

The conservatorium-trained pianist and former private-school teacher glanced at the woman before being taken to prison for up to 17 years for abusing four young boys in the 1980s.

NSW District Court judge Joseph Gibson described the respected pianist as a predator who targeted vulnerable children and held out little hope for his rehabilitation.

He said the courts “would protect young children in our society” and jailed Featherstone for a minimum of 13 years and a maximum of 17 years.

Featherstone, 57, initially faced 62 charges but pleaded guilty to 12 charges of indecency and sexual acts against four boys aged between 11 and 14 from 1983 to 1989.

Peter Pilkington, 33, who was one of the children abused by Featherstone, waived his legal right to anonymity and said he considered Featherstone “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”.

“He did this nice ‘I want to help children’ act, but all he wanted was to help himself to his sick sexual games,” he said.

Mr Pilkington was 11 years old when Featherstone befriended him and his brother, who was also a victim, at the western Sydney boys home where they lived. Featherstone took him to his home, to YMCA camps and to nudist beaches where he abused him.

“I thought he was showing his love for me. He said it was our little secret,” Mr Pilkington said. “He passed me on to one of his other friends.”

Mr Pilkington said he was happy with the sentence and encouraged other victims of sexual assault to come forward.

He said the process had come at a physical and mental cost but he would “do it again tomorrow if I had to”.

Featherstone was included in the International Who’s Who in Music in 2000 and listed among the 2000 outstanding musicians of the 20th century in Britain and 500 leaders of influence in the US.

With time already served, Featherstone will be eligible for release in August 2017.

Sex abuse charge teacher ‘used Mintie lure’

September 6, 2004 – 5:32PM

A former Sydney private school teacher allegedly used Minties to entice young boys to go skinny-dipping and sleep naked with him at a youth camp at which he was an instructor in the 1980s.

Gary Maxwell Featherstone is facing 62 charges of child sex abuse and was today refused bail in Central Local Court.

He was arrested on Saturday as he walked free from Sydney’s Long Bay jail, having ended a 12-month sentence for importing about 50,000 child pornographic images.

The 62 charges relate to acts of indecency and intercourse with four boys aged 11 to 16 between the years of 1981 and 1990 at Featherstone’s Sydney home and at various YMCA summer holiday youth camps in and around Sydney.

Police allege at least one victim has identified himself on videos seized from Featherstone’s home.

It’s also alleged that while at a camp in the Richmond area, Featherstone told about 10 boys in his group that he would give them a Mintie if they agreed to swim and sleep naked with him.

Featherstone is alleged to have said: “Everyone gets a Mintie if they go skinny dipping” and later, while camping at a nearby cave, “We are all sleeping in the nude tonight. Who wants to sleep in my sleeping bag? – There’s another Mintie in it”.

A then nine-year-old boy, whose parents were going through a divorce at the time, agreed to it after seeing other children take him up on the offer and was subsequently allegedly assaulted.

Police alleged Featherstone sought permission from the boy’s mother to maintain contact and over a seven-month period the assaults continued as he gave piano and tennis lessons to the boy while a teacher at the Pittwater Grammar School.

Following a weekend away in the Blue Mountains with Featherstone, the boy watched a television current affairs program on paedophilia and decided he no longer wanted to continue the relationship.

It’s alleged Featherstone then called the boy, who was in tears, and said: “Are you going to tell anyone? Don’t tell anyone. It’s our secret.”

Magistrate Allan Moore today refused Featherstone’s bail application, saying it could not be proved that he had been properly rehabilitated during his jail time and no longer posed a risk to society.

“Greater material from professionals is needed to give the court comfort at this point in time,” Mr Moore told the court.

“Without any further material, this court is not of the view that it’s appropriate to grant bail.”

Featherstone’s lawyer Bill O’Brien had argued for bail on the grounds that the child sex abuse offences were alleged to have occurred long before the offences for which he was jailed, which involved no physical contact with children.

The matter will return to Central Local Court on October 26.


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