The former CEO of Bega Cheese Maurice Van Ryn has been sentenced to at least seven years in jail for the sexual abuse of nine children.
Members of the victims’ families shook their heads as Judge Clive Jeffreys found the 59-year-old had shown deep contrition over his decade-long abuse of children.
Van Ryn was sentenced on Wednesday to a maximum of 13 years after pleading guilty to 14 offences over the abuse of nine boys and girls aged eight to 15.
In one instance Van Ryn put his hands down the swimmers of a girl – then aged 10 – as they were in the pool while her mother was nearby.
In another case, Van Ryn carried a 13-year-old boy into a quieter area of the pool, asking “Do you want to be my special friend?”.
He then indecently assaulted him.
Another of his victims fell prey to Van Ryn’s persistent sexual abuse after the former CEO befriended the teenage boy by helping him with computer games.
Over the more than three years that followed, Van Ryn repeatedly abused him and played pornographic videos around his victim.
In one instance the teenager kept his mouth clamped shut as Van Ryn tried to force him to perform oral sex.
The crown has previously argued Van Ryn groomed his victims by ingratiating himself with a young person to the point where the offending became routine.
But Judge Jeffreys said he would not take grooming into account.
He also said he could not find he had taken one of his victims on a trip to the ACT with the purpose of sexually abusing them.
Speaking outside court, a spokesman for the victims said no sentence was enough.
‘He is sorry that he got caught – that is the contrition he shows,’ said the man, who only wanted to be known as Ken.
‘I didn’t feel like there was enough about sending messages to the community.’
Van Ryn was CEO of Bega Cheese for 15 years, during which he guided its success.
He had retired from his position before carrying out the offences and was working part time at a pharmaceutical company.