Robert James O’Neill

Posted: February 24, 2013 by Serendipity in Photo, Victoria
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O’Neill - Robert James - Photo



O’Neill has pleaded guilty in the County Court in Bendigo to three counts of indecent assault committed against a teenage boy in the mid-1970s.

He will be sentenced in the County Court in Melbourne on August 18.

Pedophile jailed for 15 years

November 19, 2004 – 12:36PM

A child molester who hid behind his role as a sports coach in country Victoria to prey on 23 boys over two decades has been jailed for more than 15 years.

Sixty-year-old former Castlemaine football and basketball trainer, Robert James O’Neill will serve a minimum non-parole term of 12 years.

County Court judge Liz Gaynor today fixed a maximum term of 15 years and two months.

O’Neill pleaded guilty to 34 charges including rape, indecent assault and gross indecency on children between 1972 and 1996.

His cover of respectability in the central Victorian town was finally blown in July 2002, when one of his victims named him as the man who had assaulted him 10 years before.

O’Neill later admitted to abusing boys aged between eight and 16, most of whom were members of his football or basketball teams.

Judge Gaynor sentenced O’Neill today, telling him: “The determined and systematic exploitation of your victims was abhorrent”.

O’Neill’s crimes were “clearly predatory, militating against (a psychologist’s) notion that your conduct had been opportunistic and naive sexual experimentation”.

O’Neill had targeted boys in a small country community – where he himself had spent most of his life – and where sports clubs were a vital part of the community, Judge Gaynor said.

The judge said she took into account the fact that O’Neill had suffered a stroke two weeks after he was charged. His frailty and age would make prison life difficult.

But the judge said 12 victim impact statements had made distressing reading.

She said O’Neill’s victims still suffered from considerable emotional trauma and many were on anti-depressants and had difficulty in forming relationships.

O’Neill had caused “widespread and deep-seated suffering to many families,” Judge Gaynor said.


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