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Australia Ex-high school teacher Darrel George Harington guilty of historic child sex abuse

09:55  18 february  2020
09:55  18 february  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

Alleged sexual abuse of student detailed at trial of former teacher Darrel George Harington

  Alleged sexual abuse of student detailed at trial of former teacher Darrel George Harington A jury hears a man still suffers nightmares of the alleged abuse he experienced as a 12-year-old, when he was taken to his former teacher's property in the 1970s.A jury has heard a man still suffers nightmares of the alleged abuse he experienced as a 12-year-old, when he was taken to his former teacher's property during summer holidays in the 1970s.

A former teacher has been found guilty of sexually abusing two girls about 40 years ago. The prosecution was brought following investigations by Derbyshire Police and Nottinghamshire Police's Operation Equinox team, the force's ongoing inquiry into historical sexual abuse .

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The "predatory and manipulative" child sex abuse inflicted on two young boys at the hands of a "trusted and responsible" Tasmanian high school teacher has left one of the survivors "shameful and broken", a Hobart court has heard.

a man standing in front of a building: Darrel George Harington was found guilty of all counts of child sex abuse. (ABC News: Phoebe Hosier)© Provided by ABC NEWS Darrel George Harington was found guilty of all counts of child sex abuse. (ABC News: Phoebe Hosier) Darrel George Harington, 68, was charged with historic child sex offences — some dating back decades — involving two counts of indecent assault and one count of maintaining a sexual relationship with a young person.

Today in the Supreme Court in Hobart, it took a jury less than two hours to find him guilty of all crimes.

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Harington closed his eyes and shook his head as the verdicts were read, while one of the abuse survivors and his family were seen crying at the back of the court room.

Harington was a teacher and sports coach at New Town High School when he indecently assaulted a 12-year-old male student on his east coast property in the late 1970s by suggesting they play a "masturbation game".

He later woke to Harington, then aged in his 40s, holding him down and molesting him — memories that still cause the abuse survivor to have regular nightmares where he "whimpers and thrashes around in his sleep".

Harington was also found guilty of engaging in "persistent sexual misconduct" with a 14-year-old boy in Lauderdale "on a weekly basis" between 1998 and 2000, where he gave the boy a gift of a box of coloured condoms, a pornographic magazine and a $100 note.

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'Shame has gone so deep'

The court heard Harington engaged in lewd acts in front of the boy in a public shower of the aquatic centre and exposed himself to the boy and his friend on a beach at Lauderdale, east of Hobart.

Giving evidence, the man, now in his 30s, described the abuse as "terrifying" and said reading about Harington's court proceedings online gave him courage to tell his story.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the man expressed how the abuse had changed his life "totally and utterly," leaving him feeling "shameful and broken".

"Life has felt entirely worthless. I'm now so numb, I'm not just nonchalant and detached, I'm also awful to be around," the statement read.

  Ex-high school teacher Darrel George Harington guilty of historic child sex abuse © ABC News "Shame has gone so deep, it's sabotaged my self-belief and self-worth," he said. "Every day I suffer and will continue to suffer."

He told the court he lived his life in a "drugged-out haze" in an attempt to forget the abuse he suffered.

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In her closing address, Crown prosecutor Jane Ansell told the jury Harington was a "trusted and responsible teacher" who "acted on his impulses".

She described his offending as "predatory, predetermined and manipulative" and his efforts to groom young boys as "significant".

"Scratch the surface, look behind that door … you'll see Mr Harington is a man with a sexual interest in young boys aged 11 to 15," she told the jury.

"He gives them gifts, he tickles them … then he acts on his sexual interest."

Court told of prison threats

Earlier, the jury heard Harington previously pleaded guilty in 2015 to molesting several boys from the Lauderdale Football Club in the 1970s, when he was "an entrusted mentor, teacher and sports massage therapist", by offering boys massages.

Harrington, who is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for the Lauderdale offences, "will spend much of the remainder of his life in prison", his lawyer said.

Defence barrister Garth Stevens told the court his client pleaded guilty to those charges because he was remorseful for what he did and wanted to make a public acknowledgement of wrongdoing.

"I plead guilty because I was guilty … I was ill, I needed some help," the sex offender told the jury.

Harington took the stand last week and denied engaging in any sexual misconduct with the two abuse survivors, instead claiming one was taken home to his family, while the other had developed a sexual interest in him.

When asked if he touched them he replied, "No, that never happened".

In his closing address, Mr Stevens told the court prison was a "traumatic experience" for Harington who, due to the nature of his crimes, was threatened with injury and death, and had been "assaulted to the point of unconsciousness".

"This is a man who has contemplated his past, and has contemplated seriously," Mr Stevens said of his client, pointing to the exercise program he implemented in prison and the weekly prison newsletter he distributed.

Harington will be sentenced by Justice Michael Brett in March.

School removes statue resembling teacher after abuse claims .
The bronze figure was cast in the likeness of celebrated former staff member Desmond Lyle 'Jim' Graham, who former students say inflicted physical and sexual abuse upon pupils.But despite its distinct similarity to Desmond Lyle 'Jim' Graham, an Order of Australia recipient and veteran staff member of The Armidale School (TAS), headmaster Alan Jones and chairman Sebastian Hempel repeated previous assertions the bronze figure unveiled during a tribute concert for the late teacher was not him.

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