TRIGGER WARNING: This article and pages it links to contains information about rape, sexual assault and/or violence that may be triggering to survivors.
Former band frontman Daniel Hanson has been sentenced to 28 years in jail after he was found guilty of raping 14 women and girls, some as young as 12.
Newcastle local Hanson – who also went by the name Jimmy Beloved – pleaded guilty to abusing the girls and young women between 2005 and 2014.
Hanson is best known as the former singer for bands Falling for Beloved and We Built Atlantis, and allegedly used his status to lure victims.
Hanson appeared in court on Wednesday in front of NSW District Court as Judge Penelope Hock described how he used “a degree of force” and “caused pain” and “trauma” to the girls’ intimate parts over nine years of “unrepentant continual predatory sexual offending”.
The court also heard statements from six of his victims, in which they detailed the ongoing trauma as a result of his unspeakable actions.
Judge Hock added that Hanson wrote a letter apologising to his victims and their families, but due to the nature of his crimes a hefty jail term was unavoidable.
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“He is genuinely remorseful,” Judge Hock noted.
“But the sheer number of victims and the seriousness of the assaults has meant that a lengthy jail term was the only option.”
“That child you groomed and sexually violated had to deal with nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks because of your unlawful behaviours,” she said, adding that it was “self-evident children are vulnerable to abuse and deserve the protection of our society”.
In his statement to victims and their families, Hanson claimed “full responsibility” for his actions, writing: “I am ashamed and embarrassed. The way I acted and what I did are totally unforgivable.
“I’m sorry for the pain and humiliation I have caused these women and their families.
“I won’t ask for leniency, I will use every day of my sentence to better myself, I am deeply sorry and hope my sentence can offer closure to my victims, and a chance to rebuild.”
According to news.com.au, the former frontman would “convince the girls to take a bus ride in their school uniform, then he raped and sexually assaulted them at a favourite location, a stormwater drain under an overpass at Jesmond, west of Newcastle.”
He would also groom victims by offering them tickets to live gigs, flattering them, send them nudes photos and insist they keep it their “little secret”.
One victim who was aged just 14 years old at the time, was assaulted in her own home two to three times a week for up to three months when her mother had allowed him to sleep there when he was left homeless.
Another victim described to the court how she had felt “broken and unfixable” after her innocence was stolen by the perpetrator.
“I was brainwashed into thinking this was something special,” she said, NewsLocal reported.
Another woman revealed she had attempted suicide several times as a result of the abuse she suffered, telling the court: “My scars are a constant reminder of what you put me through. Each day is a battle mentally and physically, my first intimate experience was destroyed.
“I now feel empowered, brave and determined, moving forward and never taking a step backwards.”
The allegations against Hanson first arose in 2019, when the 14 women came forward to speak to police, who later formed a strike force to investigate the muso’s serial child sex crimes.
Hanson’s lawyer Peter Krisenthal argued that Hanson had suffered through a difficult childhood and was himself a victim of sexual assault when aged 11 and 12.
“It’s apparent at the time it was all about him, but he can see the malice of his behaviour, he’s accepted full responsibility. That is a powerful way of thinking,” Krisenthal said.
The 34-year-old later pleaded guilty to 23 charges of child sex and indecent assault, including having sexual intercourse with a person aged between 10 and 14, and being an adult maintaining an unlawful relationship with a child.