Former Junee teacher Carl Doherty’s sentence on sex offences may mean he dies in jail

A former Junee teacher will serve at least eight-and-a-half years behind bars after being convicted of historical sexual offences.

Carl William Doherty, 82, was sentenced in Wagga District Court on Friday after pleading guilty to 10 counts of assaulting a male and committing an act of indecency, four counts of indecently assaulting a male, seven counts of buggery and one of attempted buggery. 

The charges relate to seven male victims, all of whom were students at Junee High School, where Doherty was a teacher. The offences occurred between April 1965 and May 1981.

Judge Gordon Lerve jailed Doherty for a total of 18 years and nine months, backdated to December, 1 2016.

He will be eligible for parole from May 31, 2025.

“I accept that the non-parole period that I will be imposing in this matter may well have the practical result of the offender spending the remainder of his life in custody,” Judge Lerve said.

Judge Lerve said all of the offences involved a “very substantial” breach of trust.

He said Doherty had used his position as a teacher to gain the trust of the victims and their parents.

“Moreover, he used his significant position of trust as a means of gaining a regular supply of, and access to, teenage boys for his own sexual gratification,” Judge Lerve said.

“Teaching is a noble profession. Those within that professional have the opportunity and indeed responsibility to nurture and encourage their students.

“Students should feel safe around teachers. To say the offender grossly abused his position of trust is to very significantly understate the matter.”

Judge Lerve said he was prepared to accept, after reading medical reports, that Doherty accepted responsibility for the offences.

“However, it is my very firm view that the offender has not acknowledged the injury, loss and damage caused by his offending,” he said.

"Accordingly, I decline to find on balance that the offender is remorseful.”

Judge Lerve told the court references tendered to the court on behalf of Doherty included some from past students, who “expressed surprise that he engaged in the type of conduct that brings him before the court”.

“Further, those students speak well of the offender as a teacher, as do some of the victims in their victim impact statements.”

After the sentencing, two of Doherty’s victims and the wife of a third spoke to the media.

One victim said Doherty had “ruined a lot of lives”.

“Let’s hope he just goes away in there and never comes out,” the man said.

They urged any other victims to come forward.