11 September 2019

Van Ryn in jail 12 months longer, to be released in 2029

| Ian Campbell
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Bega Court House. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Bega Court House. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Jailed Bega Valley paedophile Maurice Van Ryn will stay behind bars for an extra 12 months, with Judge Sean Grant describing the former dairy boss as a predator the community needed to be protected from.

Van Ryn pleaded guilty in March this year to four charges of aggravated sexual intercourse with a person aged between 14 and 16 years, crimes that carry a maximum penalty of 12 to 25 years in jail.

Judge Grant today sentenced the 63-year-old to nine years for those offences, however, in real terms the decision means an extra 12 months jail time with the current non-parol period extended until April 9, 2029.

“It will mean that the offender will be eligible for release when he is about 74 years of age,” Judge Grant said.

The 63-year-old is already serving 13 years for abusing nine girls and boys in Southern NSW between 2003 and 2014.

Being relatively new to the bench, Judge Grant seemed careful to limit opportunities for an appeal or his deliberations being called into question by higher courts.

However, he was clearly moved by the impact these crimes have on young people and the wickedness of perpetrators.

The victim, who is now in his early twenties and lives interstate, was able to recount his abuse in devastating detail for police investigators and the court. As Judge Grant shared some of that detail, the busy, oblivious main street outside court feel to a hush, the only sound was that of banging prison doors as Van Ryn watched on via an audio visual link.

“The victim provided a victim impact statement dated 1 May 2019 (Exhibit 3). I have read that statement and do not intend to repeat its contents, save to say it demonstrates that the victim is deeply affected by the actions of the offender with flashbacks, episodes of self-harm, anxiety, relationship and trust issues with suicidal ideation,” Judge Grant said.

“The victim indicates his prison is his thoughts and he faces those thoughts daily for the rest of his life.”

Van Ryn, wearing prison greens and looking to the floor was largely unresponsive.

Judge Grant went on, “The offences occurred whilst the victim was a guest in the home of the accused.”

“The accused abused the trust instilled by the victim as well as the trust of his guardian. The position of trust was repeatedly breached over a period of nearly a year. The offender relied upon his position in the community to ingratiate himself with the victim allowing the abuse to occur.

“The agreed facts demonstrated predatory behaviour on the part of the offender. Predatory in the lead up to and commission of the offences.

“The offender had built a paedophilic friendly environment that assisted in the abuse of this young person. He had a substantial house with spa, pool and tennis court. There was the added attraction of computer games and alcohol. It was a venue to entice and take advantage of the young person which the offender did. He also offered money for sex which was ultimately denied,” Judge Grant said.

Van Ryn’s defense team argued that had this victim come forward earlier and the assaults against him considered as part of the original sentence then Van Ryn’s current imprisonment would most likely have been seen as a suitable punishment.

Judge Grant largely rejected that argument.

“The victim did not disclose the abuse for several years because he felt embarrassed, felt responsible and believed people would think he was gay. He told his girlfriend generally what had occurred in 2016. It was early March 2018 that he felt he was emotionally equipped to deal with what had occurred and he reported the abuse to the police,” Judge Grant said.

Outside court, the father of victims who has acted as a spokesperson over many years says overall he is pleased with the outcome.

“My belief is that we need to keep this man out of the community for as long as possible,” he said.

“This latest victim has had his day in court, I am sure there are other victims out there and I would encourage them to come forward and have their day in court. I know what a healing process it is.

“We now have 10 victims and I know of and have met all of those and whilst they are continuing to suffer, I know that they are much healthier than they otherwise would have been, that’s why I encourage others to come forward.

“If other victims come forward hopefully it will be another 12 months here, another 12 months there, that is added on.”

The full sentencing remarks are available online via NSW Caselaw.

For support, information, and advice – Bravehearts, 1800 Respect, and Lifeline.

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