Serial child molester faces justice after 22 years on run
A SERIAL child molester who dodged the Territory justice system for more than two decades after sexually abusing two young girls has finally seen the inside of a jail cell.
Stanley Stenton, 62, pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court in Darwin to three counts of indecent dealing with a child in the 1990s.
The court heard Stenton was babysitting a friend's 10-year-old daughter on night in 1995 when he crawled into her bed and assaulted her while she slept but was released on bail pending his trial.
While still on bail in 1998, Stenton indecently assaulted the 12-year-old daughter of another trusted family friend while on a fishing trip and was arrested the next day.
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Stenton was bailed again but failed to show up for court just days later and went on the run to South Australia by hitching a ride on a truck before living between Western Australia and Queensland while evading police for the next 22 years.
He was finally rearrested in Bundaberg in February this year and extradited back to Darwin to face justice.
In sentencing Stenton to two years in jail, suspended after 12 months, Chief Justice Michael Grant said he had initially denied the allegations and blamed his actions on alcohol.
"In a craven and misguided fashion you also sought to attribute your appalling conduct to the fact that the victim followed you around like a puppy," he said.
"You continue to attempt to downplay your responsibility for this offending in a manner which brings further discredit to you."
Chief Justice Grant said Stenton's offending had had a devastating impact on the two girls, reading from a victim impact statement in which one of them said she had constant "flashbacks of the night that my nightmares are now made of".
"For 25 years I had no way to properly heal from this, because there was no justice served," she said.
"He got to live his life as he wished and I was left to try and carry on living with the trauma this man created. I really hope Stanley truly understands the consequences of his actions and hope that justice is finally served for the broken 10-year-old girl who I still hold onto."
Chief Justice Grant said Stenton's prior convictions for similar offending demonstrated the crimes were not "some sort of isolated aberration".
"You asserted that you had not in fact committed those earlier offences in 1990 and that you only pleaded guilty to save the children the trauma of a trial," he said.
"Given this subsequent conduct, I do not accept that for one moment. That is just a further aspect of your attempts to deflect responsibility for your deviant conduct."
Originally published as Serial child molester faces Territory justice after 22 years on the run