MAKO - Australian News - Peter Lance Diwell

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Vic: Air league squadron leader used position to exploit boys

Melbourne, April 2 AAP - A serial sex offender used his position as an air league squadron leader to exploit and prey on three young boys, a Victorian judge said today.
Peter Lance Diwell, 57, of Rosebud pleaded guilty in Melbourne's County Court to 10 charges, including buggery and attempted buggery, gross indecency and indecent assault.
The offences occurred in the 1970s and 1980s when Diwell held a position of leadership with the Australian Air League, an aviation based youth organisation.
Judge Elizabeth Curtain sentenced Diwell to eight-and-a-half years' jail with a minimum of five-and-a-half years.
She said each of his victims was a young boy who admired and looked up to him.
"Each was a cadet in the air league and you held the rank of squadron leader.
"You exploited their affection for you, you groomed them for your own purposes, you preyed upon their vulnerabilities," Judge Curtain said.
She said the offences demonstrated a breach of trust and exploitation of Diwell's position and authority.
The court heard Diwell befriended the young cadets, who were aged between 11 and 15, at air league camps and airshows.
The offences occurred in his car after air league functions, at his parents' Rosebud holiday home and at his own home.
Judge Curtain said in victim impact statements tendered to the court the men had told of the pain and distress Diwell's actions had caused them.
The court heard that Diwell himself had been assaulted by a senior officer in the air league when he was a cadet.
Judge Curtain said as Diwell had previously been convicted for abuses of other boys in the 1980s, in sentencing he had been considered a serious sex offender.
The court was told Diwell had expressed guilt and remorse and felt he deserved to be punished with a jail sentence.
Speaking outside court a lawyer for two of the victims said the men had been living through hell for 30 years.

AAP (4-2-2004)

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