‘I was rescuing him from homosexuality,’ church abuser tells court
April 12, 2011 – 11:27AM
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A Melbourne Baptist Church youth leader claims he was rescuing a 15-year-old boy from homosexuality when he sexually abused him in a toilet block in 2009.
Daniel Rogers, 22, was today immediately jailed for eight months after a County Court judge said he did not accept that Rogers was ‘‘rescuing’’ the victim.
Judge Joe Gullaci said the victim and Rogers were at a church youth function when they began talking and referenced an earlier conversation they had online, during which the victim had said he was confused about his sexuality.
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In that online conversation, Rogers asked the victim whether he had ever considered having sex with a man.
At the youth function the victim asked Rogers if he had meant what he said during the online conversation and if he was willing to have sexual contact with him.
Judge Gullaci said Rogers refused, telling the victim he was not allowed to have sexual contact with youth members, to which the victim replied, ‘‘I understand that but you’re the one who offered’’.
Rogers and the victim then went to a toilet cubicle where they engaged in sexual contact.
Rogers pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual penetration of a child under 16, one count of attempted sexual penetration of a child and one count of committing an indecent act on a child under 16.
In sentencing, Judge Gullaci said Rogers had been a youth leader for about two years before the offending and was well aware that he was not permitted to have sexual contact with the young members.
The victim told his youth pastor of the offending the following year, after which Rogers was charged.
Judge Gullaci said Rogers had told a psychologist that he believed he was helping the victim and was rescuing him from homosexuality. Rogers also told the psychologist he was ‘‘going through the motions’’ to help the boy and was not sexually aroused himself.
Judge Gullaci said he did not accept this explanation. He said Rogers was narcissistic, self-centred but was remorseful.
The judge said Rogers continued to live a strictly religious life and believed that homosexuality was wrong, as was sex before marriage.
Rogers moved to attend another church in Melbourne after the offending was revealed.
‘‘These offences exist to protect young people who are often confused, immature and vulnerable and who are looking to others who are in a position of trust for assistance and guidance,’’ Judge Gullaci said.
‘‘You breached that trust and you offended in a serious way against this vulnerable young person.’’
Rogers was jailed for two years and four months, 20 months of which was suspended for two-and-a-half years.
He will be a registered sex offender for 15 years.