A man who sexually abused a young boy who was left in his care has been warned by a County Court judge to stay away from children and threatened with a jail term if he offends again.
Philip Vivian Clay, 56, was on Wednesday put on a community corrections order and told his name would be put on the sex offenders register for life after he pleaded guilty to three charges of committing an indecent act with a child under 16.
The court heard Clay befriended a boy aged under 10, who was left in his care by the boy's mother, after she and her son had moved to Victoria from interstate.
The mother was aware Clay had molested other children earlier in his life but was convinced by others he had changed his behaviour.
The court was told clay touched the boy's penis and let him touch his own penis while in his care between January 1 and December 13, 2011.
The boy, who was tested for slight autism, told police and Department of Human Services workers what Clay had done when they visited his school.
Judge Liz Gaynor, in sentencing, said Clay betrayed the trust of the boy and his mother and that any instance of sexually abusing a child was appalling.
But she said sending him to prison was inappropriate given his poor health and personal circumstances and that the community would be better served by him undergoing treatment in a program for sex
Judge Gaynor said Clay was sexually abused as a child by his own father and that he had intellectual learning difficulties. A recent assessment found he had an IQ of 70, which qualified him to be a client of Intellectual Disability Services.
Judge Gaynor said she accepted Clay's intellectual functioning played a large role in his offending, but she warned him he would be jailed if he breached his community corrections order.
"You really need to keep away from children, Mr Clay," she told him.
"I am satisfied you don't know what you are doing is very wrong, but it has a terrible effect on children and it will have a terrible effect on you."