A closeup of the lock of a brick jail cell with iron bars and a key Reuters/File

A former South Australian child protection worker has been sentenced to 12 years and 18 days in prison for sexually abusing two young girls. Aaron Sean Jaede, 34, raped one of his victims multiple times for months and indecently assaulted another several months later in 2014.

The District Court head that Jaede took advantage of his young victims, who were between 11 and 13 at that time, while working as a carer. The offending dated back to 2014. He initially denied the charges, claiming he had been unfairly targeted because of his gender, the ABC reports. However, 11 days before his trial was due to start, he pleaded guilty to five counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 14 and one aggravated count of indecent assault.

His defence lawyer previously told the court that Jaede was “deeply ashamed” of his actions knowing he had caused a “great deal of pain for the victims.” Lawyer Edward Stratton-Smith said the child protection worker did not enter his profession with an intent to offend.

Chief Judge Michael Evans Jaede’s actions have “fundamentally altered the childhoods” of his victims, who were supposed to be protected from him. He said Jaede’s offending was the type that caused “outrage and revulsion in the community.”

On Friday, Judge Evans sentenced him to 12 years in prison, with a non-parole period of nine years and seven months.

It was an inadequate sentence, the mother of one of Jaede’s victims said. Outside the court, the mother said she was “so angry” that he was given a lenient sentence.

“Nine years is not an adequate sentence for the rape of a minor,” she said. “[He] took her vulnerability and her youth, they took her from me because she now just wants to closet herself in and try to mend.”

She added,” He’s going to be 45 and out free. Nine years goes by in a flash and he’s already working on his business courses [in prison].”