A HUNTER church pastor who has admitted indecently assaulting three of his grandchildren has told a court that ‘‘kids are quick to forgive’’ and he was still ‘‘wrestling with God’’ over his actions.
East Maitland District Court also heard during sentence proceedings yesterday that the pastor’s personality may have changed after receiving a blood transfusion for malaria several years before he abused his granddaughters.
The pastor, who cannot be identified, spent his first night in a prison cell after being refused bail on 15 aggravated indecent assaults which he committed during a seven-week period in 2010.
All the victims were aged under 10.
The pastor’s wife gave evidence about her husband taking responsibility for the abuse but said she did not know if her husband felt he was also a ‘‘victim’’.
The court heard the pastor had suffered from malaria during an overseas trip but had made a full recovery.
‘‘They gave him a blood transfusion and I also believed there was something in that blood that wasn’t right,’’ the wife told the court.
The pastor had earlier admitted his actions were ‘‘totally wrong’’ and said he would have changed a lot of things if he could, including seeking help.
He told the court yesterday he had sought reasons why he had abused the children and would participate in any sex offender’s programs in jail.
One of the pastor’s relatives had since committed suicide and he told the court he was ‘‘wrestling with God’’ about the ramifications of his actions.
‘‘Kids are quick to forgive, [his relative’s] loss is still great,’’ he told the court.
The mother of one of the victims read a victim statement to the court, stating her daughter had enjoyed where she lived and the church.
But the girl now got angry a lot and when asked to pick out ‘‘feeling cards’’, she selected ones representing hopelessness, sad, ashamed and guilty.
Judge John North will sentence the pastor in Sydney District Court on June 21.