MAN TRADED PETROL FOR SEX
He caused a "silent sadness" and bitterness that devastated an isolated South Australian indigenous community.
Next week, Aboriginal elder Winkie Ingomar, 52, will be sentenced for five counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with three teenage girls he plied with petrol in exchange for sex.
Ingomar lived in a caravan parked in a bush camp about 200 metres from the main road near the small Yalata community, 1,000km north-west of Adelaide.
It was there the three girls, aged 13 and 14 when the abuse occurred, went inside the caravan one at a time to have sex or be touched by Ingomar during January and June last year.
The meetings only stopped when another elder overheard the girls talking and he reported Ingomar to police.
At first he denied the charges but last month he pleaded guilty before the South Australian Supreme Court sitting in Port Augusta.
In a community impact statement submitted to the court, Yalata representatives said the abuse had shaken them, caused many to go into denial and created a "silent sadness" that hung over them.
"We felt angry, sad and all we wanted to do was burn his home," they said.
"The community was in shock and it tore our community apart.
"The place felt sad. Even the white members of the community felt like this."
The sentencing of Ingomar means so much for the people of Yalata that the SA Department of Public Prosecutions has granted a special request for a video link from the court to the isolated community.
They will be able to watch the proceedings as Ingomar is sentenced. Another link will be set up in Adelaide.
According to a pre-sentence report, Ingomar is an unqualified mechanic, who was brought up in a traditional way which gave him a purpose and direction early in life.
He attended school in Coober Pedy and later worked on nearby farms as a station hand before moving to Yalata.
He is now separated from his wife and three children.
Ingomar has no previous record of sexual offences but has been convicted of 18 violent crimes and spent three years in jail from 1996 to 1999.
He said he lived in a caravan because he liked to move from place to place "to avoid trouble such as the noise of other people".
In an interview with a court social worker, he did not talk about the abuse of the girls but said he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he had sex with them.
The reports also said he knew the girls would sniff the petrol he gave them.
The only remorse he showed, the social worker noted, was of the pain and suffering that had been caused on himself and the community by the media attention of the case.
He said he had trouble sleeping because of the interest.
Yalata representatives have said they felt compelled to speak out against the abuse of the girls so other children could be spared the trauma.
They said the girls were terrified, shaken and in tears when they told them of the meetings with Ingomar and what he did to them inside the caravan.
"The girls were frightened to the extent that (they were) too afraid to look at men," a community statement said.
"Because he had traumatised our girls we became transients and had to leave the community because of his actions."
A mother of one of the victims told the court she had developed a drinking habit as a way to quell the anger and sadness she felt, but not even the alcohol could help.
One of the 13-year-old girls said she had to leave because there were too many memories.
"I was too scared to stay at Yalata, even with my own family," she said.
"I would shake and I stopped eating properly and got sick.
"Mum didn't want me to leave but she knew I needed to leave so my spirit could heal."
The girl said she didn't want to have a boyfriend and was afraid of men - a feeling all three victims shared.
"I feel like I am hiding away inside myself," she said.
"I am hiding away from people and I don't like to talk to people like I used to.
"I feel shame over what Winkie did to me."
Another victim, aged 14, described the abuse to the court as "like watching a horror movie", saying she felt scared he would come after her and was sometimes too frightened to sleep at night.
"I am frightened he will ask me to go with him, I am worried, I would be too scared to say no to him," the girl said.
"When I look at him I see him like a devil sitting there."
The 300 residents of Yalata say they now want to stand together as a family, as a whole community to fight child sexual abuse and hopefully see the end of what has been a traumatic experience.
"It doesn't matter what colour you are or who you know, abuse can happen," they said.
"We live in a multicultural society and abuse can happen."
This case is just the begining, as HOWARDS intervention gains traction, we will see more and more people charged with sexual abuse of children.
That's the punishment side of things, to satisfy white mans laws. How much leg spearing and bone pointing will these offenders face?
MOST importantly, the white men who have exploited and abused vulnerable aborigines MUST ALSO FACE JUSTICE!