Topics:  coffs harbour, grafton, retired school teacher, sexual assault

Retired school teacher jailed for sexual assault on a child

An elderly former school teacher has been jailed over the historic sexual assault of a young girl.
An elderly former school teacher has been jailed over the historic sexual assault of a young girl.

A RETIRED school teacher, who once taught in Grafton and Coffs Harbour, has been jailed for the sexual assault of a young girl.

Coffs Harbour man John William McGuinness, 78, was found guilty on eight historic offences committed against a child between 1984 and 1989.

He was sentenced to five years and eight months jail, with a non-parole period of two years and two months in the Taree District Court this week.

The victim, now 38, reported the crimes to Coffs Harbour Police in 2011 and filed a detailed account of the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of McGuinness.

She wept in court and struggled to complete her evidence as she spoke of the emotional trauma that she and her family had experienced.

"He used his position of authority . . . to groom her, which gave him the opportunity to commit the sexual offences upon her," Judge Roy Ellis said.

McGuinness was found guilty by a jury in the Coffs Harbour District Court last year on four counts of sexual intercourse with a child aged between 10 and 16 years and four counts of sexual assault with acts of indecency on a child under 16 years.

Offering no remorse or apology for his crimes in court, he will serve his jail time in protective custody and under heavy supervision given his age and deteriorating health.

McGuinness will be eligible for parole on May 4, 2015.

In a statement, the victim said: "I want to thank the detectives from Coffs Harbour and lawyers and support staff from the Lismore Director of Public Prosecutions for their support for the duration of the case."



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