'Reputation destroyed': Eden fisherman jailed over sexual assault of two teenage boys

Prominent South Coast fisherman Reinhard Drenkhahn will spend at least two years behind bars for molesting two teenage boys 20 years ago. Picture: Facebook

Prominent South Coast fisherman Reinhard Drenkhahn will spend at least two years behind bars for molesting two teenage boys 20 years ago. Picture: Facebook

A prominent South Coast fisherman has been sentenced to four years' jail for the sexual assault of two teenage boys 20 years ago.

Reinhard 'Fritz' Drenkhahn, the former president of the Port of Eden Marina group and long-time local fisherman, repeatedly denied molesting the two boys between 2000 and 2003 but was found guilty of the assaults by a Wollongong jury in December last year.

On one occasion, Drenkhahn tried to put his hands down one boy's pants and asked if he "wanted to play", while on another occasion, he performed fellatio on the boy.

Meanwhile, a few months later, he was away with the second victim in Wagga Wagga when he grabbed the second teen's penis while wrestling naked in their hotel.

Drenkhahn said to the boy "show us what you got, show us what you got" but the boy said "no" and pushed him away.

Both acts went unreported to police for years until one of the boys, now aged in his 30s, disclosed the abuse to a close friend in mid-2016.

The victim reported the matter to police in September. The second man, also now in his 30s, also disclosed the abuse to police soon after.

Police arrested Drenkhahn in December and charged him with indecent assault offences and possession of an unregistered gun, relating to an old .303 rifle found at his house during a search warrant.

Drenkhahn's trial was delayed in Bega District Court on three occasions before it finally proceeded in Wollongong before Judge Andrew Haesler in December 2019.

Jurors found Drenkhahn guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault of a person under the age of 16, and sexual intercourse with a person aged between 10 and 16.

The now 69-year-old had been on bail since his arrest but was remanded in custody after the jury returned its verdict.

In a statement read to Wollongong District Court last week, one of the victims revealed the impact of the abuse on his life.

"Before I started hanging out with [Drenkhahn] I felt normal...I would go swimming and surfing with my brothers. I had fun," he said.

"After he assaulted me, I felt I didn't know who I was. I trapped myself at home.

"I was depressed and confused. I didn't know if it was right or wrong what he did. So I couldn't talk to anyone about it."

Judge Haesler said Drenkhahn had been a respected, hard working member of the community but, now, at 69, was a convicted sex offender.

"He accepts his reputation has been destroyed," he said.

He sentenced Drenkhahn to four years' jail, with a non-parole period of two years.

Drenkhahn will be released on parole in December 2021.

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This story 'Reputation destroyed': Eden fisherman jailed over sexual assault of two teenage boys first appeared on Bega District News.