Disgraced former MP and twice-convicted pedophile Milton Orkopoulos has been confronted with the harrowing details of how his young victims spiralled into drug addiction, mental illness and ruin as he faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars.
The former NSW Labor member for Swansea and minister for Aboriginal affairs was earlier this year found guilty of a raft of charges relating to the sexual abuse of four young victims and is waiting to learn his fate.
He will later this year face sentencing after a District Court jury found him guilty of 28 charges relating to the sexual abuse of four young boys in the Lake Macquarie region and on the NSW Mid North Coast from 1993 to 2003.
Orkopoulos, 66, fought the allegations at trial; however, he was found guilty of using his powerful position in the community to ply his victims with drugs before abusing them.
Wearing a green prison-issue tracksuit, he watched on via videolink on Friday as Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court was read victim impact statements from three of the men he abused while they were young boys and teens.
The statements were read to the court by a victim support officer and all detailed how their lives had spiralled out of control after being abused by Orkopoulos.
One victim told the court that as a result of Orkopoulos’ sexual abuse, his relationship with his parents had broken down and he had lived on the streets, often with no food or money.
“My education was hugely disrupted and I never got back on track,” the man said in the statement.
“After school I found it difficult to get a proper job with my education and training levels. And when I did find jobs, I found it difficult struggling with all this depression and confusion as well as homelessness and drug addiction.
“I felt so confused – I thought no one believed me, even everyone hated me.”
Another of Orkopoulos’ victims said he had been homeless and in prison most of his life, struggled with anxiety, depression, anger and suicidal thoughts.
He said the abuse tore his family apart and his loved ones didn’t understand because “I did not confide in them, I was alone with my trauma”.
“I have been homeless many times and have found it difficult to retain employment,” he said.
“I’ve been incarcerated for most of my life. Since the age of 11 I have used drugs – started with pot at 11, stealing money off my parents to buy alcohol, stealing alcohol and cigarettes.
“I started going to juvie at 11-12 … I have had multiple overdoses and a drug-induced heart attack. I have used drugs as a way to escape.”
The court was told that a third victim had endured confusion, anxiety, depression, PTSD, flashbacks and nightmares and became a daily drug user by 13 years old.
“Because of you, I have spent years in jail due to my addiction that you gave me,” he said.
“I was arrested for the first time when I was 11 and went to juvenile justice at 12.
“You and the juvenile justice experience ruined me. It gave me a dirty taste of what was to come.”
Earlier this year, Orkopoulos was found guilty of 11 counts of intercourse with a child, six counts of indecent assault, two counts of an act of indecency and seven counts of supplying a prohibited drug.
He was also found not guilty of lone counts of supplying a prohibited drug and perverting the course of justice.
He was found guilty of charges of sexual intercourse with a child relating to three boys and indecently assaulting the other.
Orkopoulos was previously jailed for similar charges after he was found guilty of abusing three boys and he now faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison.
Orkopoulos was released on parole in December 2019 after serving 11½ years.
However, he returned to custody three months later after being arrested for breaching his parole conditions.
While in custody, Orkopoulos was charged with further offences for which he has now been found guilty.
NSW Police in June said Orkopoulos was treated for head, body and leg injuries after being bashed at Long Bay Correctional Complex.
Orkopoulos was hospitalised following the alleged incident and earlier this week a 25-year-old fellow inmate was arrested and charged with causing grievous bodily harm.
He appeared in Waverley Local Court on Thursday and is due to appear against next week.
Orkopoulos will return to court in November to be sentenced.