Figtree voyeur jail sentence reduced

A judge has shaved nine months off the prison terms of a man found guilty of touching his flatmate, filming him in the shower and possessing child abuse material.

The Figtree man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced in Wollongong Local Court on January 29 to jail terms that would have made him eligible for release 12 months later, at the earliest. But Wollongong District Court Judge Paul Conlon on Friday deemed the terms too severe.

The court heard the man, 58, had been raised in a church environment and hidden his homosexual leanings from everyone, including his family, before taking to the internet to explore his sexuality in anonymity.

Now in his late 50s, he had never had sex with a man or a woman and had lived a "very solitary and lonely life for a very, very long time", according to his lawyer, Michael Ainsworth.

The court heard the man was a group leader and mentor at a Wollongong church, where he met his victim, who was aged 18 at the time of the offences.

The victim lived with the man in his Figtree home for four years before the night of the assault. The older man touched his hip, moving towards his groin, before the youth rolled over while feigning sleep, causing the older man to leave.

Six months earlier, the man had taken photos of his flatmate in the shower from outside their bathroom window.

The victim reported the assault to police, who subsequently found child abuse material and images from the shower on the man's computer.

The court heard the man had been sacked from his job of the past 40 years as a result of the charges.

Mr Ainsworth said his client had undergone counselling in a "genuine and sincere attempt" to gain some insight into his behaviour.

Judge Conlon determined the man's struggles to reconcile his sexual orientation with his deep religious faith amounted to special circumstances. He directed the man be released on parole on April 28 this year.

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