Child abuser enticed young victims with games, treats

Peter Vincent White's house was a central meeting place for local children in his country Victoria neighbourhood, but for seven children he sexually abused it became a house of horrors.

He enticed them with the use of games and treats of lollies to orchestrate opportunities to sexually offend against the children, who were aged between four and 14 when he targeted them between 1977 and 1988.

One girl was abused during a game of hide and seek, when White said they should hide in a bed together.

White, now 73, pleaded guilty to 33 charges of child sexual abuse, including sexual penetration of a child aged under 10 and gross indecency with a child.

County Court Judge Amanda Chambers sentenced him to 15 years behind bars on Wednesday, ordering he serve at least nine years before he's eligible for parole.

She said he was entering the last decades of his life, and noted her sentence carried a genuine prospect he would die in jail.

Two of Vincent's victims confronted him in 2022 after reporting the abuse to police.

In both cases, recorded by the women, he claimed he couldn't remember his crimes.

"I can't remember doing anything like that ... if I did, I don't remember," he told one woman.

He said he was sorry if he did, but it had been "washed from my mind".

White made similar comments to another woman, denying that he targeted her and saying it was just something that happened at the time.

The offending primarily occurred at White's Woodend home, which he shared with his wife and two children.

It often happened at night when his children were asleep and when his wife, who was deaf, was unlikely to be disturbed.

He was aged between 26 and 38.

One of the children disclosed the offending when he was in his mid-teens, causing his father to confront White who promised never to do anything to anyone ever again.

Judge Chambers said the victim later disclosed the offending to his wife, who encouraged him to report it to police after becoming aware of other victims through media reports.

One young girl disclosed the offending to a family friend, who told her mother, but Judge Chambers said the girl's mother did not believe her.

A boy disclosed the abuse to his father in the mid-1990s but no action was taken.

Police first spoke to White about abuse allegations in 2019 and he was first charged in November 2022.

Judge Chambers said there was no doubt his offending had a profound and devastating impact on the lives of each of his victims.

She found his plea was an indication of remorse, but there was little other evidence he was genuinely remorseful for his offending or its impact.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028

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