An Anglican Church leader has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for raping a child under his care on multiple occasions last year, and for committing an act of indecency on another child also under his care in 2020.

46-year-old Billy Macdonald Toa is married and has three children.

“As a father himself, it is difficult to understand how he thought he is entitled to abuse a young girl in this way, over and over again. It seems that he regarded his need for sexual gratification above all else. No thought for anyone else, just himself against nature as a father,” Judge Edwin Peter Goldsbrough stated in his verdict on September 23.

Judge Goldsbrough stressed: “It is surely against the teaching of the Anglican Church to take a woman without her consent, more so a child and even more so a child under your protection. What steps are being taken within the Anglican Church to address this type of offending? Is it regarded as acceptable amongst church leaders?”

Rape warrants a life sentence. Sex with a child under protection attracts a maximum penalty of 10 years, as the offence of committing acts of indecency. Judge Goldsbrough considered aggravating factors when assessing the sentence starting point. “In this case, the relationship as a father figure makes matters worse, as that involves a breach of trust between the father figure and the girls.

“Offending repeatedly and just when it suited him at home is also something which makes this offending so much worse. Forcing himself against the will of this child is part of rape, but doing so repeatedly is something that makes this offending equally so much worse,” he stated. A starting point of 15 years was given to Toa for the rape offences. His sentence was reduced to 10 years due to his guilty plea and having no previous convictions.

According to the verdict, Toa will service 10 years’ imprisonment for the two rape offences concurrently. His sentence commenced when he was taken into custody on July 15.

He was given 14 days to appeal the sentence.