Former principal charged
AN OUTSTANDING community service record has saved former Glendyne principal Raymond Ross Krueger from jail after he was convicted of indecently dealing with a child under 16.
Krueger, 55, walked free from the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court yesterday after being given a 10-month suspended jail term.
The former principal of Glendyne Education and Training Centre, which provides support for disadvantaged teens, was recognised for his clean record and his apparent remorse, despite pleading guilty to the charge.
The court heard Krueger touched the breast of a 13-year-old girl during a camping trip when he was the leader of the Hervey Bay Baptist Church youth group.
He was 43 at the time.
Krueger was in the surf with the girl at Rainbow Beach when he put his hand on her breast, before pushing her so that the force of a wave pulled her swimmer top down, prosecutor Djenita Balic said.
He then stood and stared at the girl’s naked breast.
Krueger, who was supported in court by his wife and three adult children, was originally due to face four charges, including one count of sexual assault, but all three other charges were dropped.
The court was told that Krueger phoned the girl, now 26, in December 2007 to ask her forgiveness because he “felt bad” about what he had done.
But she didn’t appreciate his contact, which included repeated emails, and went to church members who investigated the matter.
Krueger eventually wrote a letter to the church admitting he’d had a “sexual attraction” to the girl.
In the letter, he said the girl had regularly hugged him and hung off his neck and that he recalled looking down her top and feeling her breasts rubbing on his neck when he would piggyback her.
He said following the incident at the beach, his life “became hell”.
Krueger, who lost his teaching position over the charges, has received national recognition for helping to build and develop the Glendyne school.
He is now living away from the Bay and working in an engineering position.
Defence barrister Michael Woodford said Krueger’s remorse had been real for “many, many years” and that he was glad to be in court to finally be punished for his actions.
He tendered seven references from “respected” community members to the court on Krueger’s behalf.
Ms Balic said the fact that Krueger was a lot older than the girl and that he had breached a position of trust was not in his favour but said he was otherwise of good character.
Added to that were his early plea, his complete lack of criminal history and his apparent remorse, she said.
Judge Hugh Botting said Krueger’s actions were at the lower end of the scale of seriousness and that the references showed he had made a significant contribution to the community.
He ordered that Krueger spend no time in jail and have no contact with the victim, who was present in court.