Forbes – Mark Robert - Photo

http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/2639851/ex-teacher-mark-forbes-jailed-for-child-sex-abuse/?cs=298

Former Albion Park teacher Mark Robert Forbes jailed 11 years for child sex abuse

By SHANNON TONKIN

Oct. 21, 2014, 3 p.m.

The mother of two young girls molested by Albion Park Public School assistant principal Mark Forbes says she hopes his lengthy jail term gives him time to reflect on his crimes.

Forbes, 53, was accused of inappropriately touching the girls’ genitals at his Keiraville home in March this year, but repeatedly denied the allegations and elected to take the case to trial.

However a 12-person jury ultimately failed to believe his claims of innocence, finding him guilty of five charges of aggravated indecent assault of a child and one charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child following a five-day hearing in June.

On Tuesday, Forbes was sentenced to a maximum 11 years’ jail, with a non-parole period of five-and-a-half years.

Outside the courtroom, the children’s relieved mother said she hoped the sentence was long enough for him to be rehabilitated, but also expressed frustration that he had not admitted to the assaults, let alone shown any hint of remorse.

“I’m upset he hasn’t shown any remorse,” she said, noting Forbes displayed no emotion throughout earlier court proceedings, or when the sentence was read out.

“He’s been like a block of wood.

“I just hope the sentence is long enough for him to admit he committed the crimes.”

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had previously told the court of the devastating impact of Forbes’ conduct on her daughters, as well as the family as a whole.

“The incident has shaken our sense of trust in people,” she said at the time.

“If you can’t trust an assistant primary school principal who can you trust with your children?”

On Tuesday she said she hoped her daughters’ case demonstrated the importance of victims speaking up early.

“It’s so important for victims to report abuse as soon as possible,” she said.

“This gives police the best chance to recover evidence, [and] denies the perpetrator power.”

In Forbes’ case, the siblings went to his now ex-wife with their complaints almost immediately, and she reported the matter to police.

In handing down the sentence, presiding Judge Mark Marien described Forbes’ conduct as “extremely serious”, saying his actions constitued a considerable breach of trust.

“It’s the primary purpose of criminal law to protect the community, most particularly the most vulnerable in our community,” he said.

“Children, especially of such tender years, are particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation by adults.

“I’m satisfied the offending had a serius, ongoing affect on both victims, [especially] the youngest child.”

Judge Marien said he was unable to assess Forbes’ prospects of rehabilitation due to a lack of evidence before the court.

With time already served, Forbes will be eligible for release to parole in April 2019.

 

 

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