An obese paedophile who sexually abused several boys while teaching in Tasmania won’t spend any time behind bars because of his poor health.
Peter John O’Neill, 61, was employed at three schools across the state from 1980-91 when he committed the abuse.
O’Neill befriended one of the boys, who was aged as young as 10, while working as his personal art tutor.
Peter John O’Neill, 61, was employed at three schools across the state from 1980-91 when he committed the abuse
Former students of Dominic College in Tasmania (pictured) posted to a Facebook group, with one saying, ‘Nothing will give back what he took, but he must pay in some way’
While on an overnight trip during a wild storm, the boy told O’Neill he was feeling scared.
O’Neill gave the boy a back massage in bed and then sexually abused him.
O’Neill, who now lives in Canberra, previously pleaded guilty to six counts of indecent assault and one count of penetrative sexual abuse of a young person.
He weighs 140kg, is incontinent and suffers severe degeneration of the spine, spinal stenosis, chronic pain and sleep apnea.
He has a full-time carer and needs help to stand up, wash and other elements of basic hygiene.
Chief Justice Alan Blow said O’Neill deserved to be jailed but his only option was to deliver a wholly suspended sentence as there was ‘no prospect’ of him being brought to Tasmania.
O’Neill befriended one of the boys, who was aged as young as 10, while working as his personal art tutor
‘Although I cannot impose the penalty he deserves, his life now is probably far more miserable than the lives of most prisoners,’ Justice Blow told the Supreme Court in Hobart on Wednesday.
O’Neill is unable to travel on normal flights or any significant distance by car, while specialist medical transport by air would cost up to $40,000.
Justice Blow said O’Neill could not be locked up interstate and didn’t have the money to pay a fine.
He said a home detention order was useless because O’Neill is unable to leave his house without assistance.
Justice Blow said O’Neill had impacted his victims’ education irreversibly and many had experienced problems with anxiety, homelessness, holding down jobs, depression and drugs.
O’Neill was sick in bed when he coaxed one 15-year-old boy to hug him. He then abused him.
That victim didn’t come forward until his 40s because he felt he was to blame.
Justice Blow sentenced O’Neill to five years’ jail, wholly suspended.