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Local doctor jailed

Saturday, 25th June, 2011

A former Broken Hill doctor who indecently assaulted boys decades ago under the guise of needing semen samples has been jailed for at least 18 months.

 In the NSW District Court on Friday, John Phillip Rolleston, 73, was sentenced to a maximum of four years’ jail for crimes against 12 victims, now “shattered individuals”.

 “Prior to that, we were all confident little kids having a go, and I just want perpetrators like that to know that in my case, even after 42 years, everything returns,” one victim said outside court.

 Another man spoke of how his world fell apart.

 “I have now realised just how much you took from me and I am now taking it back. I am getting my friendships back and I am going to enjoy life again,” he said.

 “You see, I am now drawing power from your failings. I will have a great life.”

 Rolleston was found guilty in March of 10 counts of indecent assault for offences between 1975 and 1981 in his north shore surgery and in a Sydney hospital.

 After the trial, the father of three admitted to a further seven counts of the same charge.

 In sentencing, Judge Leonie Flannery said the offences involved a “gross breach of trust” but she was not satisfied Rolleston picked his victims in a calculated way.

 Rather, she said, his behaviour had an element of compulsion to it.

 During his trial, jurors were told the boys, aged 14 and 15, were seeking treatment for conditions such as a sore throat, an ankle injury or the flu.

 But the doctor either masturbated them or ordered them to do it, claiming he needed a semen sample from them.

 During a sentencing submissions hearing earlier this month, some of his victims labelled him a sick and perverted ogre who used the medical profession to disguise his crimes.

 Aside from Rolleston’s guilty pleas to the later charges, the judge on Friday said she was unable to find any other remorse.

 She found Rolleston had rehabilitated himself, apparently having lived a law-abiding life for the past 30 years, and said he was unlikely to reoffend.

 The court heard he had worked as a doctor in Broken Hill between 1993 and 2010. A colleague who provided a reference said Rolleston had a “loyal following” in the town as a medical practitioner.

 The judge said that following the attacks, Rolleston’s victims suffered a range of illnesses including depression and anxiety, and had turned to drugs and alcohol. In their victim impact statements they also spoke of the loss of relationships.

 “I hope you can really reflect on what you have done to all of us,” one victim said outside court.

 “We all did menial jobs ... we all lost our confidence, we are all shattered individuals.”

Rolleston will be eligible for parole on December 23, 2012. -AAP


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