SA childcare worker jailed for sex crimes

SA childcare worker jailed for sex crimes
SA childcare worker jailed for sex crimes

A popular childcare worker who obtained sexual gratification by sucking girls’ toes has been jailed for a further two years.

“By your crimes, you have sown the seeds of mistrust,” Judge Michael Boyle told Mark Christopher Harvey on Friday in the South Australian District Court.

The judge found the 43-year-old guilty in April of persistent sexual exploitation of four primary school-aged girls between 2007 and 2011 when he was director of an Adelaide after-school care program.

The victims believed Harvey’s biting of their toes was “all in play” and, at the time, were unaware he was seeking sexual gratification, the judge said.

When Harvey went to trial, he was serving a six-year jail term for unlawful intercourse with a child whom he tricked into performing a sex act on a date after the other offences.

His matter sparked a royal commission into the SA Education Department’s handling of school sex abuse cases.

Judge Boyle accepted that the four offences were at the lower end of seriousness, saying much more depraved sexual conduct came before the courts.

But he noted the school community and the four girls and their families had suffered much in different ways by Harvey breaching the trust placed in him.

Parents no longer trusted other adults with their children, false allegations were made about teachers, and the offending led to distrust and tension among staff, parents and students.

Harvey’s significant health problems included having to undergo dialysis three times a week for five hours due to complete renal failure.

When Harvey was jailed for the unlawful sexual intercourse, the court was told it was an isolated offence.

But Judge Boyle said this was clearly not the case, describing the four offences as a prelude to the more serious crime.

He jailed him for two years, which makes his total term eight years.

His new non-parole term is three years three months, meaning he will be eligible for release next May.

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SA childcare worker jailed for sex crimes
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