Sex acts ‘disgust’ abuser, Victorian County Court hears

A Bendigo man who has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a young boy for four years has told the Victorian County Court he knew what he was doing was wrong but was unable to stop himself.

The plea hearing of Anson Manning, 27, resumed in Bendigo yesterday.

On Monday, Manning pleaded guilty to persistent sexual abuse of a boy between 2007 and 2012, starting when the child was just nine years old.

He bribed the boy with gifts, then forced him to engage in sexual acts, which he filmed and uploaded onto an internet file-sharing site.

When federal police raided his home in January they found 412 sexually explicit images and 31 pornographic videos of the boy. Officers also discovered 10,126 images and 466 videos of other child pornography.

In a letter read to the court by his lawyer Stephen Payne, Manning said he was disgusted with himself.

“What I did was unforgivable,” the letter read. “I had the power to stop what I was doing, but I didn’t stop and for that I am ashamed.

“I exploited him for my own depraved and disgusting wants.”

Manning wrote in his letter that he believed, with the support of his family, he could make a full rehabilitation. “I do not want to hurt anyone else,” the letter read.

Prosecutor Peter Jones has requested Manning be jailed for 10 to 12 years with a non-parole period of seven to nine years.

Mr Jones said Manning had been assessed as a medium to high risk of reoffending.

“There is a necessity for strong general deterrence and to reflect the community’s strong denunciation of this conduct,” he said. Mr Payne said he did not take issue with the range, but asked for Judge Lance Pilgrim to consider the lower end.

He said there were several mitigating factors in Manning’s plea including his “genuine remorse”, early guilty plea, co-operation with police, insight into his offending, lack of prior offending and strong family support.

“Mr Manning is aware just how serious these matters are and that they are aggravated by the victim’s young age, the significant age disparity between the two and the length of the offending,” he said.

“He was also put in a position of trust and he is aware he breached that trust.”

Several members of Manning’s family were present in court and his father Arthur Manning gave character evidence, describing his son as a “loving and caring chap”.

The court heard that while Manning had a very stable home life, he had struggled with his homosexuality and had been diagnosed with depression.

Judge Pilgrim adjourned the sentencing to November 19 at 10am in the same court. Manning was remanded until that date.

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