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Paedophile whose convictions were quashed found guilty again after retrial

A paedophile jailed for more than 14 years in 2009 for sexually abusing four young girls - and whose convictions were later quashed - has again been found guilty after a retrial.
Peter James Rooks was originally ordered to serve a minimum of 10 years and six months, and had served more than 900 days before being bailed after a successful appeal in 2012.
A second jury in March this year found Rooks guilty of 13 offences, that included sexual penetration of a child, committing an indecent act with a child and indecent assault between 1986 and 1997.
The retrial did not involve the fourth girl. The victims' ages at the time of offending were between four years and under 10.
The County Court in Melbourne heard on Wednesday that Rooks, 52, who knew the mothers of his victims, "lectured" one girl about improving her school grades and the way she spoke to her mother before abusing her.
Judge Mark Gamble said Rooks then "forcefully" grabbed her by the hair, pulled her backwards onto a bed and was unable to move as he sexually assaulted her.
In his sentencing remarks, judge Gamble told Rooks he had "dressed up your disgusting behaviour" as a game and as a way of "sharing love for each other".
Judge Gamble said Rooks had "perversely linked (his) obscene conduct with love" and had taken advantage of the vulnerable girls to satisfy his "perverse sexual desires".
He said it was clear from the way the victims gave evidence of the long term effects of Rooks' offending, the "emotional scarring" and that it was "unlikely any of them would fully recover" from the enduring psychological effects.
Judge Gamble said by their verdicts the jury had rejected Rooks' denial of any wrongdoing to police and in evidence.
He did not regard the first sentence imposed by brother judge Mark Taft as manifestly inadequate and also concluded there was no justification for increasing that sentence.
Judge Gamble said a psychologist reported that Rooks' offending was opportunistic rather than predatory and he had "sounded a cautionary note" about the risk of reoffending.
In mitigation, Rooks could not rely on guilty pleas or remorse, but he had no prior or subsequent convictions and he had a stable family environment with the support of family and friends.
Judge Gamble also noted that Rooks would likely serve his sentence in protective custody.
He was jailed for 11 years and three months with a minimum term of eight years and three months, less 944 days already served.
He will be a registered serious sex offender for the mandatory period of life.

www.theage.com.au (6-5-2015)
Steve Butcher

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Former Heywood man, 50 denies sex charges

A former Heywood man yesterday pleaded not guilty to 11 sex-related charges in a Warrnambool County Court trial.
The prosecution claims Peter James Rooks, 50, now of Werribee, was aged between 23 and 37 when the offences are alleged to have occurred.
The charges relate to three alleged victims — who were all young girls at the time they were allegedly assaulted.
Mr Rooks has denied all charges and claims the alleged incidents never happened.
His barrister yesterday told a jury that the outcome of the case would come down to the jury’s assessment of the three complainants’ reliability and credibility and the timing of their complaints to police.
The prosecution yesterday detailed the circumstances in which it is alleged each of the 13 offences took place.
The trial before Judge Mark Gamble is scheduled to take weeks to complete and will continue today.

www.standard.net.au (17-4-2013)
Andrew Thomson

Sex Predator gets 14yrs

A former Heywood man will spend more than a decade in jail for sexually abusing four young girls. Peter James Rooks, 46, now of Duncans Road, Werribee South, appeared on trial in June and July this year at the Warrnambool County Court and consistently denied the 29 charges against him.
Amid heightened security, including an increased police presence and officers with metal detectors, Judge Mark Taft yesterday sentenced Rooks to 14 years and six months in prison and ordered that the child abuser not be eligible for parole for 10 years and six months.
Rooks' name was also placed on the sex offenders' register for life.
After three days of deliberation in July, the jury of eight found Rooks guilty on 15 of the charges and not guilty of six offences.
Judge Taft had ordered the jury find Rooks not guilty on eight of the 29 charges due to lack of evidence.
The offences took place at Portland, Heywood and Cobram between January 1, 1986, and March 18, 2000, and included sexual penetration of a child aged under 16 years, attempted sexual penetration of a child aged under 16, committing an indecent act with or in the presence of a child aged under 16 and indecently assaulting a child aged under 16.
Rooks remained stoney faced as Judge Taft read out the sentence to a packed courtroom in Warrnambool yesterday.
A Portland district woman, whose attempted suicide led to a police investigation, told The Standard in July that she was relieved Rooks had been found guilty of sex offences.
The woman said she was six or seven years old when the offending against her started.
Police said the increased security was there in case of retribution attempts against Rook, but the large crowd present for the sentencing was well-behaved.

www.standard.net.au (6-10-2009)

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