A Perth man who attempted to bribe his stepdaughter with a car if she let him continue his sexual abuse of her has been sentenced to four years imprisonment.
The court previously heard the man was a stepfather of two young girls in Perth’s northern suburbs when he began conducting “rash checks” on his 12-year-old stepdaughter after she developed skin problems.
But the "checks", which involved the man taking off the girl's clothes and running his hands over her body and intimate areas, were in reality a front for abuse which continued almost monthly for several years.
The man told the young girl not to tell anyone about the checks, because they may "get the wrong idea".
When she became uncomfortable with the process, he tried to bribe her with a car.
Her younger sister also made a complaint of abuse following a camping trip in Dwellingup in 2017, and said he had at one point forced her to touch him while they showered together on another occasion.
In victim impact statements submitted to the court, the younger sister said she had episodes of self-harm in an “effort to leave the pain and misery”.
“[She] says that not a single day goes by where she doesn’t have thoughts basically about the offending,” Judge Michael Bowden said.
“She also has distanced herself from family and friends and is scared to speak her mind. [She has] as lost self-confidence and self-worth, and it also has affected her schooling and her ability to sleep.
“She says that she’s had many years trying to forget what occurred and then, of course, the trial has forced her to recall the events that occurred.”
The eldest sister said she felt betrayed by the experience, and her "whole life had been turned [upside] down".
The court previously heard the girls didn’t decide to come forward about their abuse until it was clear the man and their mother’s relationship was over.
“I didn’t know how to tell my mum,” the eldest sister said. “I didn’t know how to tell her her partner, someone she loved, would do these things.”
Judge Bowden said he took into account the man’s previous mental health struggles and his dependence on alcohol.
He said one concern was while the man appeared to concede he had committed the acts, he still denied they were sexual.
“It seems to me that until perhaps some form of treatment or counselling is undertaken by you for you to address those issues you won’t fully be able to move to a position where it can be said that you truly understand what occurred,” Judge Bowden said.
“Clearly both girls were entitled to look to you for security of warmth and in both cases you abused that position of trust.”
The man was sentenced to a total of four years and nine months imprisonment, backdated to July 25.
He will be a registered sex offender and a lifetime violence restraining order was placed against him on behalf of the two girls.
“The community are entitled to expect that the courts will impose significant penalties to protect vulnerable children,” Judge Bowden said.
“I accept that the sentence I impose should be no more than is necessary to achieve the aims of just punishment, retribution and deterrence.”