Two women have described how their lives were turned upside down by the military’s so-called Jedi Council sex scandal.
The pair read victim impact statements at a sentencing hearing for the group’s ringleader, Hastings Fredrickson.
The 41-year-old former commando pleaded guilty in August to three charges of using a carriage service to cause offence.
One of the women, who cannot be identified, said she was so humiliated she underwent counselling and was forced to work part-time after being targeted by the group.
She was named in sexually explicit and degrading emails sent by Fredrickson in July 2010 to 12 other men, including 10 serving members of the Australian Defence Force.
The recipients included a lieutenant colonel and a lance corporal.
“I now struggle to function in most aspects of my life,” she told the court.
“He used me, violating my privacy.
“I’ve lost over a year of my life.”
Fredrickson secretly filmed himself having sex with another woman and emailed several still images with demeaning captions to his military mates.
The woman told the Downing Centre District Court she suffered from anxiety and depression and was “haunted by the words used to describe me”.
She described Fredrickson’s actions as “calculating and predatory” and said she would “not go down as one of the victims exploited by an army officer”.
Fredrickson told the court he took full responsibility for his actions and admitted that filming and disseminating the details of his sexual encounters was a clear breach of trust.
In September 2010 his then employer, defence contractor Thales Australia, conducted an internal audit and found some of the emails.
Fredrickson was sacked on the spot.
He told the court: “On paper, it was gallows or black humour.”
“I was not aware of the legality, I guess you could say, of the offences.”
Fredrickson’s barrister Jack Pappas said his client had sought help from three psychologists since 2007.
“This man’s mental health was a major contributing factor in his offending,” Mr Pappas said.
A clinical psychologist appearing for the defence, Dr Kenneth Byrne, said Fredrickson had a personality disorder with narcissistic features.
When asked whether Fredrickson would have realised the impact his action had on the women, Dr Byrne said: “He would have had some awareness, but in a limited way.”
He said it was unlikely that Fredrickson would reoffend.
Crown prosecutor Peter Neil, SC, said Fredrickson’s actions were clearly calculated.
“When we look at the captions on the photos, the degrading language in the emails, this was done to boost his self-esteem,” Mr Neil said.
“It undermines not merely standards of morality, it is truly criminal.”
Last year, the ‘Jedi Council’ scandal led to multiple sackings within the defence force.
Fredrickson was arrested and charged in November 2013, despite earlier being cleared of wrongdoing in a Defence investigation.
Two other members of the sex ring faced charges but they were dropped.
Fredrickson’s sentencing will continue in February.
Credit: Alex McDonald, ABC News