Foster father jailed for abusing young girls left in his care
A foster father who admitted abusing youngsters in his care, including a young girl with learning difficulties, has been jailed for 18 months.
Judge Gordon Kerr QC told Brian Jackson (66), who was already on probation for abusing a girl, that only a jail term would merit the breach of trust he displayed for offending which was committed over a prolonged period.
The Belfast Crown Court judge said that Jackson carried out "multiple offending on vulnerable girls to satisfy his own lust."
The pensioner - who is already on the Sex Offenders Register - will serve a further 18 months on supervised licence upon release.
Jackson - who with his wife fostered around 50 children during their careers as carers - had been serving probation for previous convictions in relation to four indecent assaults against another young girl, prior to being jailed yesterday.
From Beersford Hill in Dromore, the father of four admitted a total of 13 charges against three children in his care. The abuse lasted from May 1998 to July 2010.
At a previous hearing at Belfast Crown Court, prosecuting barrister Margaret-Ann Dinsmore QC said the Jacksons were approved as foster carers in March 1985, and fostered around 50 children.
In October 2012, one of the foster children made a complaint against Jackson, claiming he had abused her on several occasions.
Ms Dinsmore said this victim, now aged 29, said she was targeted by her foster father "four or five times a month for two years, when she was aged between 12 and 14."
Another of Jackson's victims, who was fostered by the couple when she was aged around six, was removed from their care when she reported that Jackson has stuck his tongue in her mouth.
A third victim, who has learning difficulties, was fostered by the Jacksons when she was aged 12 to 14, and was one of the last children to be placed in their care.
The girl later told her grandmother that Jackson had abused her twice when she was 13.
Ms Dinsmore told the court that on one of these occasions, Jackson got her on the floor and abused her "under the guise of playing."
Referring to his victim, Ms Dinsmore spoke of the "intensity of her vulnerability", given that she has learning difficulties.
Speaking of the breach of trust on Jackson's part, Ms Dinsmore said one of the victims regarded Jackson as her father, as she was fostered by the couple from when she was a girl until the age of 18.
The barrister said: "The level of bonding and perception of that child towards that man was one in which there was clear, deep-rooted composite trust."
Ms Dinsmore also spoke of "the element of grooming" involved, as well as the impact Jackson's offending had on the girls. She did, however, acknowledge that Jackson's guilty plea had spared the victims the "ordeal of going through a trial".
Defence barrister Charles McCreanor QC told Judge Kerr that Jackson was the subject of a "very intense" probation programme, and was making good progress.
He also revealed that his client has some health issues, was now living "very much an isolated, lonely existence" and "lives in shame and remorse".
Passing sentence, Judge Kerr spoke of the impact Jackson's offending has had on his victims, the "very serious breach of trust", and the multiple offences committed over a prolonged period.