Former Mur’bah scout leader indecently assaults girl, 10
A FORMER Murwillumbah scout leader who indecently assaulted a 10-year-old girl has avoided jail.
William Geoffrey West, 77, from Doon Doon, appeared before Murwillumbah Court on Wednesday, pleading guilty.
West was given an 18-month suspended sentence for the offence, which carries a maximum penalty of five years jail time.
In a serious breach of the victim and her family's trust, West indecently assaulted the girl under the Northern Rivers family's roof on August 11.
West befriended the mother of the victim in 1999.
He had been studying a teacher graduate diploma.
West was a guest in the family home when the offence took place, with court documents stating he had stayed at their residence "15 times in 12 months", attending the girl's sporting events.
About 7am on the day, West inappropriately touched the girl as her parents slept.
Later that night in her bedroom the girl told her mother about the day's events and the father was also informed.
At 9.15am on August 27 West was arrested at his home and taken to Tweed Heads Police Station, where he made a full admission.
Deborah Gooley, venturer leader of Murwillumbah scouts when West was associate leader, provided a character reference in court.
"The Bill we know has always treated the young people around him with respect and care," she said, stating West had been a guest in her house "multiple times".
Ms Gooley said this was evident in the fact her three adult children regularly invited West to their own family gatherings.