Former teacher sentenced to three years’ jail after historic abuse of 13-year-old in regional SA

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Christopher Stain was sentenced in Adelaide’s District Court.  (Gary Rivett: ABC News)

A former teacher who sexually abused his 13-year-old student in the early 1980s has been given a reduced sentence, after a judge found he did not pose a threat to the community.

Christopher Stain, 67, appeared in the Adelaide District Court for sentencing on Wednesday, after he pleaded guilty to persistent sexual exploitation of a child from 1982 to 1983.

The court heard the offending occurred while Stain was a teacher at a school in regional South Australia, and the victim was his student.

Stain invited the teenager to a Friday night Bible study, and later began having sex with her on a regular basis. 

Judge rejects ‘grooming’ claim

Judge Joana Fuller said Stain’s offending started shortly after the victim had confided in him that she had been raped by a family member.

“She told you things she would not tell other people,” Judge Fuller said.

“You taught [the victim] the word of God, then you defied it.

“[You have] strong Christian faith… ironically your Christian faith is a faith you held when you were offending.”

The court also heard the father-of-two had driven his victim to Adelaide for dental treatment at the time of the offending, and the pair had stayed with his parents.

“You told your parents you were helping her parents out by saving them the bus fare,” Judge Fuller said.

However, in sentencing Stain, Judge Fuller did not accept the prosecution’s claim that Stain had “groomed” the victim.

She said the girl had endured teasing at school by students who suspected something inappropriate was going on.

The court also heard at one stage the victim believed she may be pregnant.

“You seemed to panic and you checked in every day to see if she had her period.”

Sentence reduced due to early plea

Judge Fuller acknowledged Stain had sought psychological help in the 1990s and accepted that he was remorseful.

“The relationship was wrong in in the eyes of the law, the community, and the God you worship,” Judge Fuller said.

“She said she wants to hand to you the 38 years of shame to carry as your burden, not hers.”

Judge Fuller sentenced Stain to three-years-and-10-months’ jail, with a non-parole period of 14 months.

She rejected an application by the prosecution to place an intervention order on Stain to stop him contacting his victim because she did not believe he would.

Judge Fuller also said the former relief teacher’s sentence was discounted because of his early plea.

“I do not believe the community requires any protection from you,” she said.

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