A FORMER Armidale Senior Citizen of the Year has spent his first night behind bars after he was sentenced to a total of three years' jail for sexual offences against his stepdaughter more than 25 years ago.
Richard Peter Maddox, 74, had pleaded guilty to three counts of assault and committing an act of indecency with a girl under 16 and one of carnal knowledge of a girl between 10 and 17 years old when he appeared for sentence in District Court at Grafton yesterday.
Judge Freeman sentenced Maddox – who can be named because the court agreed to the victim's request to have the suppression order lifted that protects the identity of the victims of sex offences – to three years for the carnal knowledge offence, with an 18-month non-parole period. He was also sentenced to 12 months jail for the three other offences. All sentences are to be served concurrently.
The victim, Malika Maddox, 39, said she wanted the suppression order lifted to make the community aware of the crimes her stepfather committed.
Prior to handing down the sentence, Judge Freeman outlined the evidence against Maddox, a former university lecturer and music teacher.
He said the offences occurred in 1983 and 1984 when Maddox and his stepdaughter returned to Australia from Los Angeles.
The three assault offences culminated in the carnal knowledge offence.
The family became aware of the offences when Malika wrote “Fathers are for hating” on her bedroom wall.
Her mother, Andree Kindryd, confronted Maddox and he admitted the offences.
Judge Freeman was mystified that the Department of Community Services did not press ahead with charges at the time. He said the fact that Maddox had moved out of the house and had undertaken counselling may have influenced the decision.
In 2007, after Malika Maddox, now living in Wollongong, learned her stepfather had been named Armidale Senior Citizen of the Year, she confronted him again and he privately apologised to her.
In 2008 police agreed to conduct electronic surveillance of Maddox and in 2009 recorded a conversation referring to the events that led to the carnal knowledge offence.
He was arrested in June 2009 and charged.
Judge Freeman said there were mitigating factors in the sentence he delivered.
These included the age and poor health of the offender, the length of time elapsed since the crime was committed, and the standing of the offender in the community.
He also said the attitude to these types of offences had changed a lot since the 1980s.
“A court after the offences occurred would have handed down a much lighter sentence than a present-day court,” he said.
The judge also said the remorse Maddox had expressed and the discomfort and fear of discovery was a form of extra-curial punishment.
However, Judge Freeman pointed out that Maddox's standing in the artistic community in Armidale and his outstanding references could be discounted to some extent.
He noted that in many cases, including this offender's, perpetrators were apparently outstanding members of the community.
“This was an extremely grave breach of trust of a girl from the only father figure she had ever known” the judge said.
He said the offences had only ended when the girl had brought the situation to her mother's notice by her “heartfelt declamation”.
Outside the court yesterday Malika said the guilty verdict and jail sentence had vindicated her.
“I was told not to expect too much. That he may just get a slap on the hand because of his age,” she said.
Malika said she had been inspired to bring charges against her stepfather when her own daughters reached an age when she recalled she was being groomed by Maddox and she found out he was teaching music to young girls in Armidale.
She said Maddox came across as a sweet, charming old man, but he was really a master manipulator.
“He does what he wants and then says sorry afterwards,” she said.
Malika was supported by her stepsister Rosie Maddox and another friend in court.
“He's only ever pleaded guilty to things he's been caught doing,” Rosie Maddox said.
The family are now determined to have Maddox stripped of his Senior Citizen of the Year title.
Malika's mother, Andree Kindryd, supported her daughter throughout the court case and was with her outside the court.
She has suffered years of remorse, which all came to a head yesterday.
“I'm the idiot who let this happen,” she said.
She said there had been signs there was inappropriate behaviour going on, but she failed to act on them and had been put off by her husband's excuses.
Ms Kindryd said she and her daughter were attempting to reconcile their relationship.
“It's something we're working on,” she said.