A MAN in his 70s has been jailed for sexually abusing his 13-year-old immigrant stepson and threatening him with deportation should he speak out.
The retiree, who can not be named to protect the identity of his victim, pleaded guilty in the Hervey Bay District Court to touching the boy's genitals while his mother was out of the house and exposing him to a pornographic video.
The court heard the man had no criminal history and major medical problems but Judge David Reid found the offending was too serious not to warrant jail time.
Crown Prosecutor Dzenita Balic said the boy and his family had emigrated from the Philippines and his mother was in a relationship with the defendant when the abuse occurred.
She said the boy's mother was away when the defendant went into his bedroom, touched his penis and despite being told not to was "persistent" but when the mother confronted the defendant he told her he was "checking whether the boy was having a heart attack and found him masturbating".
Defence lawyer John Milburn said his 72-year-old client was awaiting surgery for a torn hernia and tendered several references from friends and his children, noting the man's 18-year-old daughter was in court to show her "unconditional support".
Judge Reid said an admission from the boy's mother that she had been reluctant to pursue the charges because the defendant was the family "provider" made him wary of a letter from her which stated the abuse did not appear to have had a lasting impact on her son.
He said that even if the boy seemed unaffected now, "these things often manifest themselves later in life" and noted that at the time, the boy had cried and told his mother he didn't want to go back to the house.
He found threat of deportation was particularly troubling and that at least one reference from a friend which claimed the defendant had been "set up", suggested he may not have been truthful with those close to him.
The man was sentenced to 12 months jail, suspended after two with an operational period of two years.