The last thing two young brothers needed when they built up the courage to tell their parents they’d been abused by their GP was to not be believed.
Yet, after suffering an abhorrent abuse of trust by their family doctor, another adult that was supposed to protect them failed to do so.
Serial convicted paedophile John Rolleston has avoided more jail time after admitting to abusing two more young patients between 1969 and 1972 — the latest victims to come to light in the decade that Rolleston has been in and out of prison.
Reading the disturbing facts in Sydney District Court, Judge Leonie Flannery said two brothers were aged between 13 and 16 when they were each molested twice by Rolleston, who was aged 31 to 34.
The first brother was taken to Rolleston’s practice in St Ives, a suburb in Sydney’s Upper North Shore, after he was bitten on the hand by a neighbour’s border collie.
John Phillip Rolleston at the Downing Centre Court in Sydney in 2009.
But the boy was confused when Rolleston asked him to pull down his pants and started molesting him, saying: “just imagine you’re with your girlfriend”.
Feeling too shocked to tell his parents, the boy kept the abuse to himself and was sent back to Rolleston six months later with a flu, only to again be abused.
The predator also molested the boy’s teenage brother twice, the court heard.
When the first boy told his parents about the abuse one night while having dinner, his dad, who was friends with Rolleston, said he “must have misunderstood the procedure”.
Rolleston avoided jail time after his ill health was aired in court.
The father continued his friendship with Rolleston and even sent his daughter off to be seen by him when she had appendix pain, Judge Flannery said.
“A few years later, (the victim) brought the subject up again. And he complained that his dad had not believed him and was unhappy with his father’s response and this affected the relationship for a long time,” Judge Flannery said.
Decades later, the victim was shocked to see Rolleston walking along the street in Mosman, after serving time in jail for abusing other former patients.
Judge Flannery said Rolleston walked over to him on that afternoon in 2016, called him a “kiddie fiddler” and “rock spider”. He told him: “You abused me as a child”.
The 84-year-old was sentenced in Downing Centre Court. Picture: Nikki Short
The court heard when police interviewed Rolleston about the allegations, he said: “I just can’t understand why these people have suddenly come forward with these sorts of things, when there was plenty of opportunity to come forward if they had a problem”.
Given 84-year-old Rolleston suffered from melanoma, lung disease, heart disease, gastrointestinal bleeding and recurrent kidney stones, Judge Flannery said it would “be cruel and unusual punishment to return him to jail for such a short period in his state of health”.
But she said if these crimes had come to light earlier, she would have sent Rolleston to jail for longer in the past.
“These offences involved a gross breach of trust, as the offender was a doctor in the course of his duties,” Judge Flannery said.
“The relationship between a doctor and patient is inherently unequal.”
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Rolleston pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent assault on a male.
He was sentenced to an 18-month community correction order, under which he must not commit any further offence.