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Australia Rugby league coach Paul Stephens back in jail for abusing boy before 'horrific' child sex offences

20:55  04 november  2019
20:55  04 november  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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A former Perth rugby league coach who has spent more than 14 years behind bars for "horrific" child sex offences has been sentenced to another seven months in jail for molesting a boy 25 years ago.

Paul Andrew Stephens, 53, plied the victim with alcohol after inviting him to his home to watch a State of Origin match in the early 1990s.

Stephens indecently touched the boy, who was aged either 13 or 14 at the time, after telling him he had to sleep at his home because he was too drunk to leave.

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Stephens, who played and coached rugby league, had been due to stand trial in the District Court, but instead pleaded guilty to one charge of indecent dealing.

Another charge relating to a second boy was dropped after prosecutor Sean Stocks said there were no reasonable prospects of Stephens being convicted.

A record of 'horrific' abuse

The court was told Stephens had been in custody since 2005, when he was jailed for five-and-a-half years for sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy.

In 2006 he was given another nine years behind bars for what a judge described as the "horrific sexual abuse" of three young children who were having a picnic in Kalamunda in 1999.

The victims were aged five, nine and 11.

Stephens held a knife to the throat of the youngest child and threatened to slit his throat if the other children did not do as he said.

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He has now served the entirety of those two sentences.

'Dangerous sex offender' bid

Stephens's lawyer, Karen Shepherd, described her client's crimes as horrendous and abhorrent, but noted that the offence for which he had now pleaded guilty was committed before the other more serious offences.

Ms Shepherd said while Stephens's plea of guilty had come at a late stage, it had spared the victim from having to give evidence in court.

She also said Stephens had undergone counselling and treatment programmes during his lengthy time in jail.

Judge Kate Glancy took into account Stephens's disadvantaged childhood, his guilty plea and the time he had already spent behind bars in deciding that a seven-month jail term was appropriate.

But she it was clear the offence had a significant impact on the victim, because he had still wanted to pursue it through the courts after 25 years.

Stephens may not be released after serving his seven-month term because next year state prosecutors are applying to the Supreme Court to have him declared a "dangerous sex offender", under which he would remain behind bars indefinitely.

If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 131 114, or beyondblue 1300 224 636.

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