A FORMER Gunnedah man labelled a serial paedophile church worker who plied his victims with alcohol and cannabis before sexually abusing them has been sentenced to at least six years in jail.
James Michael Brown, who volunteered with the Anglican Church at Kurri Kurri for more than 20 years, will be 67 before he is eligible for release after Judge John North handed down a 10-year sentence with a six-year non-parole period in in East Maitland District Court on Friday.
The jail term brings some closure to the dozens of victims who met Brown while he was a volunteer parish youth worker between 1974 and 1995.
Brown, who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by a priest when he was about 20, previously said most of his offences were committed before 1984.
Despite realising his offending deeply affected his victims, Brown conceded he continued to abuse boys for a least another decade.
He was first charged in 1997 after one of his victims went to the police. But the case against Brown collapsed after the victim declined to give evidence after he was branded a liar during the committal hearing.
It would be more than 14 years before Brown finally pleaded guilty to the first of a string of offences.
The Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Brian Farran, released a statement on Friday expressing “deep regret” for the abuse perpetrated by Brown during his time as a volunteer with the church.
“The diocese has fully co-operated with the authorities throughout this process and will continue to be vigilant in addressing the issues of child sexual abuse within the church,” he said.
Brown will be eligible for parole on November 23, 2017.