Child rapist attended church near Gladstone children playgroup

A CONVICTED child rapist found drunk and near playing children has been released from custody after he pleaded guilty to a series of breaches under the Child Protection Offender Reporting Act.

The 56-year-old man had been taken into custody for the breaches and went before Gladstone Magistrates Court yesterday on five charges of failing to comply with reporting under the act.

Prosecutor Merrilyn Hoskins said the breaches occurred between December and June this year when he failed to update personal details as obliged to under the act.

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This included his failure to notify police of a new mobile telephone number, that he had casual work and that he was visiting a soup kitchen in Gladstone while children were nearby in a play group.

Sergeant Hoskins said the man had been convicted and sentenced four years ago on two counts of rape of a child under16 and indecent treatment of children.

The court heard one victim was aged 14.

The man had been on the Child Protection Offender Registry since April 2012. This legally requires him to report to police for 15 years.

Sgt Hoskins said such offenders were required to keep police informed of their whereabouts. This included making four reports yearly, she said.

The Child Protection Investigation Unit in Gladstone did a compliance check on the man and discovered that he first failed to do so by December 2015.

Sgt Hoskins said when detectives went to his home in March he swore at police but then ended the interview.

The man failed to report in February, although he told police he did so by phone and was told "it was fine".

Sgt Hoskins said a police examination of phone records proved this had not happened.

Police learned he had been attending a soup kitchen and occasional church services at the same time as children were at a play group close by.

He had failed to report any activity that might bring him into contact with children.

Sgt Hoskins said the man was found highly intoxicated but unable to be interviewed at the time because of his alcohol reading of .291.

It was his sixth offence for failing to report as required.

Lawyer Jun Pepito said the man was a disability pensioner who thought it was okay to go to the soup kitchen although, at times, (the play group) did overlap.

Magistrate Jeffrey Clarke said there was no allegation the man had approached children or tried to lure someone and if he had a custodial component would have been considered in sentence.

Mr Clarke fined the offender $1500 for his failure to communicate changes to police and told him it was important he kept a clear head (off alcohol) and stuck to the reporting regime.



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