Australia: Former Teacher at Adventist School Jailed for Sexually Abusing Children
2 June 2019 | Lester Keegan, 66, a practicing Adventist who used to teach at a school run by the denomination in Bunbury, Australia, has been jailed for four years after admitting to sexually abusing two boys over three decades ago.
According to The West Australian, one boy was a student at the school.
One victim, aged between five and ten years, was abused between 1979 and 1983. He was molested while he showered at a “fellowship” event at Keegan’s house.
Keegan molested a 13-year-old in Perth between 1987 and 1988. He abused him in bed three times.
On May 21, Keegan’s lawyer, Seamus Rafferty, said that Keegan had accepted that he had to be “punished for the sins of the past.”
Rafferty explained that Keegan was a devout Adventist and a homosexual and that church teaching against homosexuality had caused a long-term internal struggle for Keegan.
Judge Wendy Gillan responded saying that this did “not excuse your funnelling your thwarted sexuality towards a young person.”
Prosecutor Peter Phillips said Keegan’s actions were predatory, and the consequences catastrophic for the victims.
“There was an element of predatory conduct … in the service of his own desires,” said prosecutor Peter Phillips, who said his actions had terrible consequences for the victims.
Judge Gillan of the West Australian District Court said she had to sentence Keegan according to maximum terms for his offences at the time of the crimes. She described these as “remarkably out of kilter” with those of today.
“Crimes of this nature were unacceptable in the 80s …. Society would have condemned it then, and condemns it now,” said Gillan.
Keegan, who is eligible for parole in two years, was jailed for four years for indecent dealing with one victim and acts of gross indecency with the second.