Former Victorian orphanage carer, 81, jailed for sexually abusing five boys

A former carer at a Victorian boys’ orphanage in the 1970s will spend at least four years in prison for sexually abusing five of the young children.

William Parker Skelland, 81, was living in the UK in 2019 when he was arrested for his crimes and extradited back to Australia to answer for them.

Nel 1973 e 1974, he and his wife were working as “cottage” carers at Burwood boys’ home.

Instead of taking care of children there, Skelland systematically abused them for his own “deviant, sexual gratification”, a county court judge, Mark Dean, said on Monday.

The youngest of his victims was aged six, the eldest was 14.

The court heard that Skelland had assaulted one of them in his own living quarters. When the boy complained to the head of the home, he struck the child in the face.

On some occasions, Skelland abused his victims while watching television, on others he went into their bedrooms at night.

Dean said the six-year-old victim had been in pain and started to cry before Skelland stopped assaulting him.

"[The victim’s] wife attests to his isolated, reserved and weary disposition,” ha detto il giudice. “He is ashamed of what you did to him.”

Another victim, who reported Skelland’s attack and was moved to another cottage, told the court of his terror during the carer’s assaults.

“No doubt this terror was experienced by all of your victims,” Dean said.

Skelland and his wife were sacked from the boys’ home in 1974 because of the abuse allegations.

But police were only notified some 40 anni dopo, after Skelland was identified during the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

Dean, in sentencing Skelland on Monday, noted that the 81-year-old had multiple health conditions along with paedophilic disorder, mixed personality disorder and depression.

He rejected that Skelland was remorseful for what he had done and said he should have to sit through a sex offender’s program to gain some insight into how he traumatised his victims.

He noted Skelland had not reoffended since his crimes at Burwood boys’ home.

The judge sentenced Skelland to a total six years and nine months in prison, with a non-parole period of four years. Skelland will also be on the sex offenders’ register for life.

“You have now been bought to justice for your appalling attacks on vulnerable young boys,” ha detto il giudice.

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