A Figtree man who repeatedly photographed his young male flatmate in the shower before molesting him as he slept, yesterday confessed to struggling for most of his life to reconcile his sexual orientation with his deep religious faith.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, faced Wollongong Local Court after pleading guilty to two charges of filming the young man without his consent and possessing child pornography.
He was found guilty of a third charge of indecent assault after an earlier hearing.
The court heard the man took photos of his victim from outside their bathroom window on multiple occasions in August 2012, without the younger man's knowledge or consent.
Six months later, the man came into the victim's bedroom and tried to fondle him.
The younger man pretended to be asleep at the time, prompting the older man to cease his actions.
He denied anything had happened when the victim confronted him about the incident later the same night.
Police were called and subsequently found child abuse material on the man's computer, as well as images of the victim showering.
During sentencing yesterday, the man's lawyer said his client had struggled with his sexual orientation for years and that his behaviour had been the result of escalating frustration.
"He's a person who has lived with a suppressed sexual orientation all his life," the lawyer said, seeking a suspended jail sentence.
The court heard the deeply religious man met the victim through their church and the two developed a "platonic relationship", which eventually led to the victim moving in with the man.
The pair lived together for about 4½ years before the incidents occurred.
Magistrate Geraldine Beattie acknowledged that the man was a first-time offender with no criminal record and that he demonstrated "altruistic tendencies" in his church endeavours, but said his actions against the victim constituted a breach of trust.
"You had been a paternal figure for him ... you took advantage of that," she said.
The man was sentenced to 12 months' jail but lodged an appeal, which will be heard on March 7.