Justice served after child sex abuser convicted 60 years on

SEX OFFENDER: Darrell Cocking, pictured in a court sketch in 2010, has faced court a number of times over historical child sex offences in western Victoria.

SEX OFFENDER: Darrell Cocking, pictured in a court sketch in 2010, has faced court a number of times over historical child sex offences in western Victoria.

Robin Young’s childhood experiences of his piano teacher sexually abusing him in the late 1950s have haunted him to this day.

For decades, Mr Young did not tell anyone – including his parents – what had happened to him during those piano lessons at his primary school in a remote farming area in western Victoria.

Then in 2014 following some reluctance, he went to the police. Mr Young says he came forward after he was inspired by the women who lodged the initial complaints about Rolf Harris. 

He had also seen the publicity on his abuser, Darrell Cocking’s subsequent offences on boys in the 1950s and 1980s, which were dealt with in the County Court at Ballarat in 2010 and 2014.

Cocking, of Ballarat, was finally convicted of child sex offences against Mr Young in the County Court in November.

The frail 82-year-old pleaded guilty to four charges of indecent assault on a male person under the age of 16 committed almost 60 years ago between January 1958 and December 1959.

Judge Michael McInerney sentenced Cocking to a total effective sentence of two years’ jail, wholly suspended for three years.

Mr Young said the legal process was long and tortuous, but ultimately he felt justice had been served.

“The whole process has been very therapeutic for me. I would like to thank the Ararat Police and staff at the Office of Public Prosecutions for their support to me throughout the last three years,” Mr Young said.

“I greatly sympathise with people who have been through this and similar experiences who are reluctant to come forward and complain about their abuser. It is not easy."

Robin Young

“I was personally inspired by the women who lodged the initial complaints about Rolf Harris. It was their example lead me to file my complaint about Cocking.”

Mr Young said the crimes against him had impacted his whole life but he hoped the closure of the case would help him.

“I am now 69 but my experience as a young child of being sexually abused has haunted me all of my life,” he said. “I am sure it has affected my ability to form and sustain relationships with people and to trust people close to me.”

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Mr Young was aged between nine and 11 when Cocking, aged 22 to 24, inappropriately touched him on four occasions from January 1, 1958 to December 31, 1959, while he was a visiting music teacher.

Cocking’s offending started about 15 minutes into each lesson and lasted about 15 minutes. After he stopped, he asked Mr Young whether it was OK and ‘do you mind me doing this?,” to which he replied ‘no’.

The piano lessons stopped abruptly and Mr Young went on with his life until one night he was travelling home one night and started to cry uncontrollably.

That night, for the first time he told his wife and, the following morning, his boss.

Cocking was ultimately confronted with the child sex crimes and in a record of interview with police in November 2014, he totally denied them.

November 2017 was not the first time he has fronted court. On October 15, 2010, in the County Court at Ballarat Cocking was convicted of five counts of indecent assault with a male under 16 and two counts of gross indecency with a male person under 16.

The offences occurred while Cocking was a Ballarat church group leader between July 1, 1980, and February 28, 1981, when the victim was 12-years-old. He served 14 months behind bars.

Four years later on March 14, 2014, Cocking was sentenced to 12-months’ jail, suspended for three years for serious offences against a boy aged eight to nine years between 1959 and 1960. 

He fronted the County Court again in April 2017 and was convicted of offences which arose from him giving music lessons to children. He was handed a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years. 

In sentencing Cocking for the offences against Mr Young, Judge McInerney said all his crimes could have been brought to a head had Cocking volunteered all the information.