Seabrook child abuser to appeal against sentence

Goya Dmytryshchak

| 13:06:PM 03/09/2014

A Seabrook man has been sentenced to six months’ jail and placed on the sex offender register for 15 years for the sexual abuse of two boys in the 1980s.

Richard James Gilbert, 59, pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday to three counts of indecent assault carried out in Melbourne’s west between September, 1987, and September, 1989.

Gilbert had originally denied the charges but changed his plea to guilty after a second victim came forward.

Gilbert, a single parent of three teenage children, has been bailed pending a sentencing appeal to the County Court.

The court heard Gilbert was 32 when he abused the first victim, then aged 13. The two victims are now aged 40.

Outside court, the first victim said he reported the abuse to police in 2012 because he wanted closure.

The victim, who said he moved to Mornington to get away, said the abuse had a devastating impact on his life.

“I have got mental illness,” he said. “I have nightmares constantly. I have been a very violent person because of this.”

He said Gilbert had gone to school with his father and been a close family friend.

“[Gilbert] used to stay at my parents’ place a fair bit,” the victim said. “He lived in Sunshine. At the time, I lived in Braybrook and he used to stay over a fair bit. We used to have family get-togethers, stuff like that, and he used to stay in the same bedroom … quite a few times he asked if it could happen.”

The victim said the abuse eventually stopped when he rebelled.

The second victim, from Maidstone, said outside court he always wondered what sort of man he would have been had the abuse not happened.

He said Gilbert had “wormed his way” into his family when he was a teenager.

“It just destroyed me, I guess, just changed the type of person I would have been,” he said. “I’m a cold person, no emotions. I’ve only had a couple of relationships in 20 years.

“I’ve been single for 11 years now, so it’s basically destroyed me. I can’t get close to people.”

The victims said it had been a relief to meet each other.


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