DPP v Lean [2019] VCC 1770

Sentence summary: child sex offence

A registered sex offender who sponsored a football club to get close to young boys was jailed for sexually assaulting a teenage player in his bed.

Hugh Lean, 66, was sentenced to four years and six months jail with a non-parole period of two years and six months.

He pleaded guilty to one charge of an indecent act with a child under 16 and four charges of failing to comply with reporting obligations.

The Court heard the offender lied to a junior football club, inventing a son who had wanted to play football but had died in a tragic car crash.

He had no children.

The offender had an extensive prior criminal history and was a registered sex offender at the time after being convicted and jailed in 2002 for rape and an indecent act with a child under 16.

However, the offender was not placed on the Sex Offender Register until 2008, after he was convicted of soliciting a 14-year-old for sex.

After his 2002 offending, a psychologist made the conclusion that the offender had no paedophilic tendencies.

“How wrong that was,” the judge said.

The offender had met the victim after he signed up to sponsor the club for $1,500 a year which granted him access to the club’s players and change rooms, the Court heard.

“You told a false story of personal tragedy about your involvement with the football club in order to gain sympathy and the trust of the people at the club generally and (the victim’s) family specifically,” the presiding judge said.

The offender and the victim’s father would often drink alcohol together at their family home and he would sometimes stay the night.

On one of those occasions the offender, at the request of the victim and his brother, slept in the same room.

Later in the night, the young victim woke to find the offender in his bed.

He had the boy in a headlock with one hand over his mouth.

The offender then began touching the victim’s penis and was thrusting his penis between the boy’s thighs and against his anus.

The offender also threatened the victim with physical violence if he ever told anyone.

The Court heard how the victim said he could not “move or breathe”.

“My innocence was lost that night. I lost trust in everyone,” the victim said.

He said he felt frightened, insecure, anxious and had recurring nightmares.

The victim said he stopped playing football, left school and had trouble staying in the same job for too long.

The presiding judge said the victim showed “great courage” in coming forward.

”He is in no way responsible for what happened to him that night,” the judge said.

The judge noted the offender’s early guilty plea and remorse as mitigating factors.

The offender had a difficult childhood with alcoholic parents and was moved in and out of the state’s care as a teenager.

Only a period of incarceration was appropriate, the Court heard, due to the offender’s substantial prior convictions as well as the seriousness of the new offending.

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Page last updated: 26 August 2020