An Otago man instilled in his family the motto: "care, share and be fair".
His wife, the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday, felt like she had won Lotto when she met him.
A highly educated man, he did not smoke, take drugs, rarely drank and seemed to
put family first in his thinking, she wrote in a letter to the court.
However, her world and that of her children was "shattered completely" when her husband revealed he had been abusing their son for nearly a decade.
Counsel Anne Stevens QC said her client — whose name was permanently suppressed — was unique in that he not only admitted the wrongdoing but also wrote a detailed statement outlining the chronological span and precise manner of the abuse.
The defendant, she said, pleaded guilty the same day he was charged and was now "on the path to atonement".
The court heard the sex acts began when the victim was only 2, beginning with fondling and progressing to more invasive violations.
The first instance his son could recall was when he was 6 and he told police the crimes occurred regularly.
For years, the defendant would sneak into the boy's bed when his sibling was asleep and perform the indecencies.
It only stopped in 2017 when the victim shoved the man off him during an episode.
Stevens said her client immediately sought counselling for himself and the boy.
The victim was "the last person he would ever want to hurt", she said.
Despite the monumental breach of trust, both the child and his mother made statements in support of the defendant.
The boy showed a "remarkable level of maturity", Judge Jim Large said,
"Despite what he did to me, I love my dad; he's caring and kind ... I believe he needs a lot of counselling and I want him to get home detention," he wrote.
The judge said that was an unrealistic outcome.
Though the man's wife labelled the abuse "disgusting, abusive, manipulative, secretive, harmful", she said having her husband behind bars placed financial strain upon her and further victimised the family.
The woman felt the system did not care about them.
"That's really sad to read. There's some substance to what she says but the options are very few," Judge Large said.
The court heard the defendant had been abused as a child.
"I understand I had a choice in my offending and my undeniable error was remaining stuck in my childhood story of victimisation. That sense of victimisation enabled me to deflect responsibility," he wrote in a letter to the court.
Stevens said references provided by those who knew her client painted him as a hard-working man who had given a lot to his community.
Crown prosecutor Robin Bates suggested the defendant should receive no sentence discount for his previous clean record since the offending had lasted almost a decade.
The outcome should have been 10 or 11 years behind bars, he submitted.
But Judge Large gave the man a four-year credit for both remorse and prior good character, as well as two and a-half years for his guilty plea.
He was jailed for seven and a-half years.
The defendant's wife made it clear she and the family would support him through his rehabilitation.