IT’S finally time for some closure on the Maurice Van Ryn saga.
The self-confessed paedophile and child rapist will be sentenced on Wednesday, September 9, 12 months since his arrest on multiple charges of child sexual abuse.
His sentence hearing, as for much of this case, has had its share of delays and adjournments, but the victims and their families have been told this Wednesday in the Sydney District Court is the day.
The 60-year-old recently pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual intercourse without consent - in other words rape.
All four charges related to the same victim - a 15-year-old boy - and occurred between January and December 2010.
Those charges were added to the matters for which Van Ryn was already awaiting sentence, including multiple counts of sexual abuse and indecent assault of a child and the more serious charge of persistent sexual abuse of a child.
Last November, Van Ryn pleaded guilty to abusing nine boys and girls between 2006 and 2014, and acknowledged responsibility for a further two incidents which Judge Clive Jeffreys will take into account in sentencing him.
The persistent sexual abuse of a child can carry maximum penalty of 25 years’ jail.
However, the more recent charges are likely to significantly increase the length of the jail sentence Van Ryn will receive given that sex without consent with a child under 16 is a more serious charge than any he was already facing.
Van Ryn has pleaded guilty to all charges - a small mercy in that his young victims were not required to testify in court, instead tendering written victim impact statements for the judge to take into consideration.
Sex offender register in public interest?
A SPOKESPERSON for the young victims of Maurice Van Ryn says “something is broken” with the current legal system.
They said despite the original charges relating to the abuse of a child, Van Ryn continued to be allowed in the community after bail was granted - and, as later revealed, continued to abuse children.
“Nobody was told he was an admitted sex offender,” the spokesperson said this week ahead of Van Ryn’s sentencing.
“He was protected by suppression orders, but who’s being helped in these situations?”
The spokesperson said while Wednesday’s court date may offer some form of closure for the victims and their families, a conversation needs to be held over the sex offenders’ register to protect the community from similar predators.
“The US model of a sex offenders’ register is very open and publically available on the net,” the spokesperson said.
“[Child protection agency] Bravehearts does not support that model and apparently neither do the police.”
The spokesperson said he had heard the head of the NSW Police Child Abuse Squad believed sex offenders publically shamed “go to ground, making it harder for police to keep track of them”.
“There might be a middle ground with the register,” the spokesperson said.
“What if someone with specific concerns could ring up a police hotline and ask them ‘by chance can you tell me if this person is a registered sex offender?’
“The existing way of doing things is broken - the system breaks down in Van Ryn’s case.
“Prior offences are known, a guilty plea entered, yet he is released back into the community where he offends again.
“Something has to change.”