Victims reveal horror of child sex

Melanie Petrinec

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Cairns Post

THE extent of a former Cairns man’s abuse of children has been revealed as two victims seek compensation for the crimes that led him to be handed one of the longest jail terms for paedophilia in South Australia’s history.

Ronald John Hendrie was working as a fisherman in the Far North when he was sentenced to 18 months’ jail in 2007 for using cigarettes, lollies and gifts to seduce two Cairns children into having sex with him between 2000 to 2001.

Cairns District Court heard that one of the boys was 14 when he was first shown a pornographic movie at Hendrie’s Cairns home, and the second boy was aged 13 to 14 when he was invited to help the man make a film.

During sentencing, Hendrie’s defence barrister said the man was “not a regular offender”, despite having a criminal history that included a conviction for an unlawful relationship with another boy in the Far North in 1999.

But it has now been revealed the 66-year-old’s crimes against children span back to the 1970s, when he molested three children under the age of 12 in Port Lincoln for more than five years.

Hendrie was handed a 19-year sentence for the Port Lincoln incidents in July.

The victims of those crimes have now have hit out at South Australia’s $2000 cap on criminal compensation and revealed to Adelaide’s The Advertiser for the first time how Hendrie left their lives in tatters.

“My life doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. At the moment, I’m lost,” a male victim said.

A female victim, now in her 40s, said her abuse started when she was three and continued until she was 10.

Paedophile Ronald John Hendrie likely to die in jail

  • by: Investigations Editor Bryan Littlely
  • From: The Advertiser
  • December 27, 2011 12:00AM

A PORT Lincoln truck driver’s sex crimes are among the worst of their kind in the state’s history, a District Court judge says.

For the first time, some of his victims have revealed how the “unspeakably degrading acts” of Ronald John Hendrie, 66, destroyed their lives.

Hendrie, a pest controller and soft-drink transporter in Port Lincoln in the 1970s, is likely to die in jail as he serves one of the longest penalties handed to a convicted paedophile in this state.

This year Hendrie was sentenced to 19 years in jail, including 13 years without parole, for his sustained abuse of three children under the age of 12 for more than five years.

Now those victims have come forward to reveal more details of Hendrie’s crimes – details on which Judge Sydney Tilmouth would not elaborate when he sentenced the paedophile in July because they were so appalling.

To date, only a handful of people – the victims who faced Hendrie in the Port Augusta court, their family and those on the jury who determined his guilt – know the vulgarity of this predator.

Judge Sydney Tilmouth said that “the numerous and unspeakably degrading acts make this case one of the worst of its kind”.

The judge was measured in detailing the horrific crimes, calling them “appalling” and revealing they included persistent abuse over more than five years for each of the victims, all of whom were under the age of 12.

While guarded in his sentencing remarks, the judge explained that the sexual abuse included repeated acts of sexual intercourse, masturbation and fellatio for Hendrie’s “immediate, insatiable, prurient, paedophilic self-gratification”.

“Three innocent, defenceless and vulnerable children were degraded and humiliated to such an extent that they lost all sense of self-dignity. That has remained with them over the decades since,” the judge said.

“These events have resulted in enduring and long-lasting mental scars, scars that will never completely heal.”

One of his victims, a girl now in her 40s, said she was abused by Hendrie for about eight years.

“The abuse of me started when I was probably three and continued until I was 10. I was being taught how to pick up street kids and sexually abuse them … I was being groomed to be like him,” she said.

Another of the victims said he was abused by Hendrie three or four times a week for eight years from the age of eight. He claims he was tied up, raped and beaten. “My life doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. At the moment, I’m lost.”

Both have sought compensation from the Victims of Crime Levy but have been left disappointed that payments have been capped, resulting in just $2000 being offered to each of them.

“I am not doing this for money,” the male victim said. “But is that all a young life back then is worth? Is that what destroying my life was worth?”

The female victim also believed victims of child sex abuse deserved greater compensation and issued a warning to parents and children to be vigilant of abuse.

“I do support the stranger-danger message, but people also have to be aware that the biggest strangers can be those living with you – family and friends who are the people who are meant to protect you,” she said.

Hendrie’s sentence is among the harshest penalties handed down in SA. Former magistrate Peter Liddy received a 25-year sentence for his abuse of multiple victims.

Judge Tilmouth determined that Hendrie first started to abuse the female victim while living in Port Lincoln in the 1970s, when he was in his early 20s.

Hendrie has surprisingly avoided publicity over his crimes, despite also having convictions in Queensland and the Northern Territory for similar acts.

In March 2005, he was sentenced to 18 months in jail by the District Court in Cairns for three counts of indecent treatment of children and six counts of indecent exposure to children, committed between September 1999 and April 2004.

In October 2005, he was sentenced again by the Cairns District Court to 390 days in prison on two aggravated counts of maintaining an unlawful relationship with a child, committed between April 2000 and December 2001.

Next in July 2008, he was sentenced by the Supreme Court at Alice Springs on two counts of gross indecency on a male under 14 years of age and an aggravated assault. His term was two years and six months in prison with a non-parole period of 15 months.

The moment he was released on parole on that sentence, April 17, 2010, he was taken into custody over these three offences in SA.

“In fixing the sentence, which is about to be imposed, your relatively advanced age is relevant to the extent that the total sentence should not be too crushing,” Judge Tilmouth said.

“In all the circumstances an appropriate sentence is one of 19 years’ imprisonment, made up of eight years’ imprisonment each in relation to counts one and two and three years on count three.

“Given your advanced age and the fact you will probably remain in custody for the better part of your remaining natural life, an appropriate non-parole period of 13 years is set.

“Having reviewed the totality of the proposed sentences, I do not regard them as crushing. In fact they are rather merciful given the extreme nature of the abuse.”


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