A WOMAN who was sexually abused by her father as a child and adult has described him as a ‘good dad’.

Stephen Keen, who worked as a joiner at Rossendale Hospital and was the chairman of an East Lancashire swimming club, was jailed for 10 years yesterday after admitting sexually assaulting his child and a second girl.

Judge Beverley Lunt branded the ‘manipulative’ 60-year-old a dangerous offender and gave him an extended sentence of five years on licence.

But waiving her right to anonymity, Keen’s daughter Donna White said: “I just want to put it out there that this is in the family.

“I was the one that brought the charge. We would just like to deal with it as a family. He has always been a good dad. Me and my brother had a good childhood. We have had a good upbringing.

“We haven’t got horrible memories of childhood. We had nice holidays. We had nice Christmases. The reason I did this is because I wanted him to get help for his alcoholism.

“My dad was a volunteer and chairman at Rawtenstall Swimming Club for 12 years and worked really hard. He did it because he loved swimming. I don’t want people to think he did it because it was working with children.

“That is not what it was. He gave his all to that job. He went on courses, he bettered himself. That is separate to the family and what happened.”

The court heard how Ms White was 13 when the abuse started and it initially stopped when she was 18 and got a boyfriend. But it started up again last year when Keen went to his daughter’s house and sexually assaulted her in her bedroom. In total Keen is estimated to have carried out up to 40 attacks on his daughter.

Prosecuting, Joe Boyd said Keen would sexually assault Ms White when she would change out of her school uniform at his workshop in the hospital. He would also abuse her at home.

Mr Boyd said that on one occasion Keen told his daughter ‘don’t worry, you can’t get pregnant’, which she took to mean he had had a vasectomy.

And when she tried to fight him off he would say: “It’s OK. It’s OK.”

In relation to Ms White, Keen pleaded guilty to charges of indecent assault, indecency with a child and sexual assault.

And Mr Boyd said the day before Keen was due to be sentenced for offences against his daughter, the second complainant contacted police to say the defendant had abused her.

Keen, of Hill Crest, Stacksteads, initially denied any wrongdoing but a week before the trial he pleaded guilty to counts of sexual activity with a child and causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

In her victim personal statement the second victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “As a result of what happened I am very conscious when I’m outside alone about males looking up or following behind me.

“If I am in confined space with a male I become really anxious, especially someone I don’t know.”

Defending, Bob Elias said his client posed a low risk of re-offending and his abuse was not ‘persistent or predatory’.

Mr Elias said: “For the victims of these sorts of assaults to come to court and hear a public exposition of the assault they suffers shows courage on their part. It can’t be easy to be here and hear these distressing matters ventilated in court.

“The assaults are disturbing to hear about.

“He’s 60 years old. He’s looking at a substantial custodial sentence and he doesn’t complain about that. He is now in prison. He is keeping his head down. He has got a job. He’s a lot older than most of the people there but he is sorting himself out. He deserves punishment for what he did and for flouting the rules of decency.”

Judge Lunt said: “You preyed on these two children. You created and manipulated situations with each of them which you would exploit in order to sexually abuse them. You claim you are not sexually attracted to children but I reject that.”

Speaking after the case, Det Cons Tony Roberts said officers had received no complaints from anyone at Rossendale Swimming Club about potential sexual abuse by Keen.

DC Roberts added: “I am happy with the sentence. It reflects the seriousness of the offending.”