A FORMER assistant scout master who repeatedly indecently assaulted a young boy at a scout camp in the Upper Hunter in the late 1970s has been jailed for a maximum of three years and six months in Newcastle District Court.
Michael John Patrick Perkins, now 68, needed a walker and was hooked up to a portable oxygen machine as he sat in court on Friday and listened as Sean Glassford, who he had repeatedly abused as a 12-year-old scout, read a poignant victim impact statement.
"The Scout motto is "be prepared",' Mr Glassford, who asked to be identified to encourage others to report abuse, said. "I certainly wasn't prepared for what happened that night when [Perkins] reached over to feel where my penis was and say "which side do you dress on?" I was 12. "With those six words, the life I was supposed to have changed forever."
Mr Glassford said he lived with being abused by Perkins for four decades before he came forward and made a report to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2015.
After listening to the impact of his crimes, Perkins gave evidence and initially struggled to appear remorseful, show any insight or appreciate the seriousness of his offending.
When told he was more than twice the age of the 12-year-old Mr Glassford at the time of the abuse in 1977, Perkins said he was "a big boy, he wasn't little" and referred to the repeated abuse and predatory behaviour as a "misdemeanor".
"I myself as a little kid was subjected to similar things at school," Perkins said. "I didn't take it as good, bad or ugly. I just thought it was a game boys played... and sadly I repeated it."
He later acknowledged the impact on Mr Glassford and said he was sorry, but, strangely, pointed to the training Mr Glassford had received in scouting as serving him well in "bringing me to justice".
Judge Roy Ellis said Perkins was aged between 25 and 27 and in a position of authority over Mr Glassford when he repeated indecently assaulted him at a scout camp in 1977 and then again during 1979.
He said the long-term trauma that child sexual abuse causes needed to be taken into account when he jailed Perkins for a maximum of three years and six months, with a non-parole period of one year and nine months.
Perkins - frail, pale and literally running out of oxygen by the time he was sentenced on Friday afternoon - was slowly taken down to the courthouse cells by corrective services. He will be eligible for parole in November next year. Afterwards, Mr Glassford said he was glad to put that chapter of his life behind him and urged other victims of child sexual abuse to come forward telling those like him out there "you will be believed".