A Sunshine Coat firefighter was jailed today for the indecent treatment of a 14-year-old boy who had been in his care.
A Sunshine Coat firefighter was jailed today for the indecent treatment of a 14-year-old boy who had been in his care.

Firey's brutal sex abuse pushed teen to brink of suicide

A FIREFIGHTER who molested a friend's teenage son hung his head as a court heard how the harrowing impact of his actions pushed his victim to the brink of suicide.

Ian Alexander Everingham, 46, of the Sunshine Coast, pleaded guilty in Maroochydore District Court today to four counts of indecent treatment of a 14-year-old boy under his care over a one-year period starting in 2008.

Sobs pierced the silent moments as the victim's father composed himself as he read both his own victim impact statement and one on behalf of his son's fiancé, aged 21.

"In December 2018 my son contacted me and requested a family meeting ... which soon changed the thoughts, the lives of all involved forever," he said.

"My son, whilst sobbing uncontrollably in front of his direct family and fiance, announced three major things. 'Dad, I wanted to commit suicide, I have been molested … I was molested by Camel'."

Prosecutor Alex Stark told the court Everingham was a family friend who took advantage of his victim at a Mount Isa home while he stayed with him.

Mr Stark told the court Everingham thought his victim was asleep when on separate occasions he rubbed the boy's penis with his hand, twice over the clothes and twice skin-to-skin.

The raw victim impact statements told the struggles the complainant, now aged 23, had endured as a result of the attack. They included post traumatic stress disorder, nightmares and violent outbursts towards his loved ones, including his partner.

The father read on her behalf: "We are serving a life sentence for something we are not guilty of. I should be writing my wedding vows, not a victim statement."

The court heard the defendant, the complainant and their families lived on the Sunshine Coast, and had been involved in each others' lives until the police complaint.

Defence barrister Kevin Kelso told the court his client had made admissions to police in December last year, the day the complaint was made, and resigned from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) in January.

Everingham's wife and eight-week-old daughter supported him in court, alongside his sister and mother.

Eleven of the victim's loved ones were in court, many teary-eyed through proceedings, but Mr Stark advised the situation was too overwhelming for the victim to confront.

Mr Kelso said the offences were an "aberration" in an unblemished life and he had served 13 years in the Australian Army prior to his QFES service.

"He's otherwise upstanding, generous to a fault, service to his country and community," Mr Kelso said.

Judge Glen Cash condemned Everingham for his serious crimes and robbing his victim of his childhood.

He sentenced him to 18 months' jail, suspended after he had served six months with the remainder operational for three years.

If you or someone you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 131 114.