Man pleads guilty to sexually assaulting young girl

A FORMER government advisor and indigenous leader who molested a young girl has narrowly escaped serving time behind bars.

Kenneth O'Neill Dalton, 75, pleaded guilty on December 1, 2015 in Ipswich District Court to two counts of indecent treatment.

The sentencing before Judge Greg Koppenol last year had to be adjourned after a conflict of interest was aired.

Crown prosecutor Peter O'Conner said on Wednesday, when the sentencing hearing resumed, the girl, 13, had been touched on her breasts on two occasions.

He tendered three victim impact statements to the court which revealed how Dalton's offending had affected the girl and her family.

Defence barrister Stephen Kissick said Dalton was a highly-respected indigenous leader and was well thought of in the community.

He said his offending began after he turned to alcohol following the death of his wife of more than five decades.

"Ultimately in the scheme of things this is very low grade offending," he said.

"This offending occurred within 18 months of losing his wife and it was extremely out of character."

Judge Sarah Bradley said the community deplored sexual offending against children.

But she said she accepted it was out of character and was at the lower end of the scale when it came to these types of offences.

"It is tragic to see someone with the respect you held in the community come before a court faced with these charges," she said.

"You grossly breached the trust this girl and her parents had in you.

"Granted you did not put your hands under the girl's top, but offending against any child will not be tolerated."

Judge Bradley sentenced Dalton to six months behind bars suspended for two-years.


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