Photo: Warwick Daily News,23739,22587397-952,00.html

Longer sentence for molester

Mark Oberhardt

October 15, 2007 12:59pm

A FORMER country council CEO who molested a friend’s young son had his jail sentence increased on appeal today.

In the District Court in August, Noel Francis Kropp, 60, was jailed for nine months to be suspended after two months when a jury found him guilty on two counts of indecent dealing with a child under the age of 12.

The trial heard Kropp was visiting the boy’s parents at their home, on Bribie Island north of Brisbane, and slept in the eight year old’s room, in June 2005.

On successive nights he touched the boy’s genitalia. The boy later made a complaint to his mother saying Kropp was like “Michael Jackson“.

The court heard Kropp was an ex-serviceman who was deeply upset when he saw the Voyager disaster in 1964 and had later worked as CEO for various councils including at Warwick, on the southern Downs.

The Attorney General Kerry Shine appealed the sentence as being manifestly inadequate and asked Kropp be jailed for 12 months with no early suspension.

However, Peter Callaghan SC, for Kropp, said his client’s sentence wasn’t inadequate because he had some special mitigating circumstances.

He said Kropp was shamed by publicity in areas where he had worked in local government after his conviction and his credibility had been affected in his claim against the Commonwealth Government for the Voyager incident.

Mr Callaghan said Kropp was also in ill health and had the care of his elderly father.

Prosecutor Michael Copley said the boy was only eight years old at the time and previous cases supported at least a 12 months sentence.

He said the sentencing judge had placed too much emphasis on the mitigating circumstances.

In an unanimous judgment the Court of Appeal upheld the appeal, set aside the sentence and imposed 12 months jail to be suspended after six months.

The Chief Justice Paul de Jersey, sitting in the Court of Appeal, said he believed the judge had erred in finding there was no evidence of the offence affecting the boy.

He said there was nothing about the Voyager incident which relieved Kropp of his responsibilities in regards the boy and any of Kropp’s health problems could be handled in jail.

Government appeals molester sentence

Christine Kellett
September 18, 2007 – 1:18PM

The State Government will challenge an eight-week jail term handed to a Brisbane child molester last month.

Queensland Attorney-General Kerry Shine today lodged an appeal against the sentence imposed on Noel Francis Kropp, 60.

The retired local government bureaucrat was convicted on August 26 of repeatedly sexually abusing an eight-year-old boy who holidayed at Kropp’s Bribie Island home two years ago.

He was handed a nine-month term, to be suspended after eight weeks, after a District Court judge gave him credit for his public and military service and the apparent lack of psychological damage to his victim, now 10.

Kropp, a former Justice of the Peace, served in the Royal Australian Navy and was the CEO of South Melbourne and Warwick Shire councils before his retirement in 2004.

His sentence sparked outrage from the State Opposition and child abuse campaigners.

Mr Shine today formally lodged a legal challenge in the Court of Appeal in Brisbane after seeking advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

A hearing date is expected to be set in the coming days.

“After considering the case and the advice sought, I believe the sentence warrants consideration by the Court of Appeal,” Mr Shine said.

A jury found Kropp had abused the boy, the son of a family friend and former work colleague, on two nights of the family’s three-night stay on Bribie Island in 2005.

While the child’s parents slept in an adjoining room, Kropp lured the youngster into his bed before fondling his genitals and telling him to “keep it a secret”.

The boy said nothing until the family returned to their home interstate and began looking a pictures of Kropp on the trip, prompting the child to become distressed.

“I thought he was going to tell me a bed time story or something,” the boy told Kropp’s trial.

“I didn’t tell anyone because I felt sick and disgusting.”

Kropp was found guilty of two counts of indecent treatment of a child, but acquitted of a third.

In sentencing remarks that caused a stir among victims’ support groups, Judge Hugh Botting said there had been “scant” evidence to suggest the boy had been significantly traumatised by Kropp’s abuse.

The judge also took into account Kropp’s contribution to Local Government and the armed forces, describing it as “admired and respected”.

In documents tendered to the court, doctors diagnosed Kropp with post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from a navy boat crash in 1964.

He had also endured a long battle with alcohol.

But outspoken child abuse campaigner Hetty Johnston, founder of victims’ group Bravehearts, said a sex offender’s background should count for nothing.

“It’s irrelevant whether the person is a priest or a social worker,” Ms Johnston said.

“The crime is the same.”

Kropp is due for release on October 13.

Former council CEO jailed for indecency

August 28, 2007 – 6:20PM

A former Queensland and Victorian council CEO found guilty of indecent dealing with a eight-year-old boy, will spend two months in prison.

Noel Francis Kropp, 60, the former head of South Melbourne council and Warwick shire council, in Queensland’s south-west, was found guilty on Friday of inappropriately touching the boy when he stayed with him two years ago.

In Brisbane District Court on Tuesday, Judge Hugh Botting sentenced Kropp to nine months jail but ordered the sentence be suspended after two months, noting Kropp’s many years of public and military service.

The court last week heard Kropp touched the boy’s genitals and bottom on consecutive nights when his family holidayed at Kropp’s Bribie Island home in June 2005.

Kropp was a long-time friend of the boy’s parents and his mother admitted to the court they allowed her son to share a bed with him during the three-night visit.

He was convicted of indecently dealing with the boy on the first two nights of the visit, but the court heard the boy “tricked” him into leaving him alone on the third night by claiming a stomach ache.

Defence Barrister Peter Callaghan told the court his client had a long history of service to the public and tendered several references attesting to his good character.

“These offences occurred roughly in the space of 24 hours … 24 hours is a short time in a man’s life, particularly a man who has been as industrious and productive as Mr Kropp has been,” he said.

Judge Botting noted Kropp had been “admired and respected” in the communities in which he had worked and made mention of his 10-year naval career.

He also noted that Kropp had suffered long-standing psychological damage as a result of his involvement in the 1964 HMAS Voyager disaster.

Despite the boy’s mother’s claims her son had suffered behavioural and attitude problems after the incident, Judge Botting said he did not appear to have suffered “significant psychological damage”.

Kropp is set to be released in late October.

Executive guilty of child sex abuse

Christine Kellett
August 25, 2007 – 10:04AM

A retired Victorian council executive is facing the prospect of a lengthy term in jail after being convicted on child sex charges.

Noel Francis Kropp, 60, was last night found guilty of molesting the eight year-old son of a family friend during a holiday at Kropp’s Bribie Island home in Queensland two years ago.

The former South Melbourne Council CEO used the offer of a bedtime back and tummy rub to lure the youngster into his bed before fondling the boy’s genitals while his parents slept nearby.

Brisbane’s District Court heard the abuse occurred at least twice during the three-night trip in June 2005 but it was not uncovered until the family returned home several days later.

After viewing photographs of Kropp on holiday, the boy’s mother said her son had become distressed and told her: “Kroppy’s like Michael Jackson.”

When pressed, he said Kropp “liked little boys” and had touched his “rude parts”.

“I didn’t tell anyone because I felt sick and disgusting,” the boy, now 10, said in pre-recorded evidence played to the court.

“I trusted him.”

Kropp flatly denied the allegations during his three-day trial, with his defence team arguing the boy suffered behavioural problems and had fabricated the story after watching a news item about Michael Jackson on television.

But it was a claim the eight-man, four-woman jury refused to acccept.

They took little over five hours to return the guilty verdict on two counts of indecent treatment of a child under 12.

Kropp was acquitted of a third count after the child claimed he had “tricked” the older man into leaving him alone by telling him he had a stomach ache.

The trial heard that after being tucked into bed for the night, the boy had agreed to stay awake and wait for Kropp because he believed he was going to tell him a bedtime story.

Kropp, who also served as CEO of Queensland’s Warwick Shire Council before retiring from local government in 2004, appeared shocked as the guilty verdict was read out.

He was immediately taken from the dock into the custody of Corrective Services officers and will be held on remand until sentencing next week

Ex-council CEO ‘likes little boys’

Christine Kellett | August 23, 2007

A retired senior council bureaucrat invited the eight-year-old son of a work colleague to share his bed before molesting the boy on a family holiday, a Brisbane court has heard.

Noel Francis Kropp, 60, was later described by the child as being “like Michael Jackson” because he “likes little boys”.

Kropp, the former CEO of Warwick Shire Council, in Queensland’s Darling Downs, is on trial in the District Court, charged with three counts of indecent treatment of the boy, who lives interstate and is now aged 10.

Kropp denies the allegations and has pleaded not guilty.

At the opening of the trial yesterday, prosecutors said Kropp, a trusted friend of the boy’s father who had once worked with him, had invited the family to stay at his home on Bribie Island as part of a Queensland getaway in June 2005.

Setting up a camp-bed for the boy in his bedroom, Kropp allegedly told the child to wait up for him while he socialised with the child’s parents, who were sharing a spare room nearby.

After the adults retired, the court heard Kropp allegedly asked the boy to “get into bed with Kroppy” before putting his hands down his pants and fondling the child’s genitals and bottom.

The abuse was allegedly repeated on each night of the family’s three-night stay.

Crown prosecutor Guy Andrew told the court Kropp later drove the family to a Noosa resort where he again shared a bedroom with the child.

But it wasn’t until the family had returned home and was viewing happy snaps of the trip that suspicions were raised.

“(The boy) said that he didn’t want to look at those (photographs) and that Kroppy was like Michael Jackson,” Mr Andrew said.

When quizzed about what he meant, the boy said Kropp liked little boys and “played with their private parts.”

“He wanted me to keep awake and wait for him,” the boy said.

“I can remember he said ‘it’s our secret’ or something.”

The child later told police he had felt angry and upset and had tried to roll over in bed to stop Kropp from touching him.

The court also heard of a similar incident at the family’s interstate home when the boy was aged six or seven and Kropp had stayed the night as a house guest.

Several witnesses, including the boy’s parents, are expected to testify during the four-day trial before Judge Hugh Botting.

Kropp served as Warwick Shire’s CEO for eight years from January 1996 until his retirement in February 2004.

The trial continues.


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