A former NSW police officer and church youth group leader convicted of child sex charges, who told one of his victims ‘‘now we are one’’, has been sentenced to at least seven and a half years’ jail.
Wayne Paul Mason, 42, was a ‘‘serial seducer of underage females’’, using his position of influence as a youth group leader and jujitsu teacher at a Baptist church in Sydney’s south-west between 1996 and 2005, NSW District Court Judge David Frearson said.
A jury found Mason, who was an officer with the NSW Police between 1997 and 2003, guilty of 44 child sex, pornography and pervert the course of justice charges.
Mason also pleaded guilty to charges of disseminating child pornography.
Some of the pornography offences involved Mason doctoring a photograph of a 10-year-old girl by putting her head on graphic images and posting them online.
‘‘When you look at the image, and I hesitate to do so, what you feel is absolute disgust that somebody could post such an image,’’ Judge Frearson said.
‘‘The photograph speaks for itself and to describe it as disgusting is understating it.’’
Another victim found photographs of herself online, taken when she was a teenager, which Mason claimed were artistic.
‘‘His obsession is not art. He seems to be obsessed with disseminating sexual images ... which is very depraved conduct in my opinion,’’ Judge Frearson said.
The court heard Mason targeted four teenagers, luring them in with attention, gifts and love letters before they agreed to various sex acts with him, including being photographed.
However, because the girls were under 16 at the time they could not give consent.
In 2001 Mason drove one girl he met through the youth group to a vacant block, forced her to have sex, and told her ‘‘now we are one’’, the court heard.
The girl had previously told Mason her religious beliefs meant she was going to wait until marriage to have sex, and he knew she did not consent, Judge Frearson said.
Mason kissed another girl while they were standing in the hallway of the church hall in 2000.
‘‘(He said) ‘I don’t know where you learnt to kiss like that’. This is a grown man kissing a 14-year-old.’’
Judge Frearson said Mason’s ‘‘charismatic’’ nature helped him win the trust of the girls and their parents.
‘‘He used his position to engage in ... sexual exploitation for his own gratification.’’
Several personal references spoke of Mason’s good character and his ‘‘mistakes’’, but Judge Frearson said many of those views were naive.
‘‘I accept that he has commendable qualities [but] he used a lot of those to impress the young girls,’’ he said.
The judge said Mason had shown no remorse and taken no responsibility for his ‘‘blatant and depraved conduct’’.
Mason was sentenced to a maximum of ten years and 11 months in jail, with the non-parole period expiring in December 2019.