Fast-food boss guilty of sexually abusing staff member

IT STARTED with a Facebook friend request to a young Rockhampton teen and escalated to kissing and inappropriate touching.

The Rockhampton father of three convicted of these sex abuse offences has been told it's unlikely he'll be able to continue working in an industry with a young workforce following the incidents.

The man, who has not been named for legal reasons to protect the identity of the victim, pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton District Court to four counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16.

Transcripts of the sentence, handed down in late January, show the 30-year-old man was the victim's manager at a fast-food outlet.

The interactions started with a friend request on Facebook, followed by messages on Snapchat.

"You commenced games, perhaps, innocently but they progressed to just a game of strip snap which involved you exchanging photographs of each of you in your underwear," Judge Michael Burnett said in sentencing.

"There were about 20 or so photographs sent by her, and 20 by yourself."

On New Year's Eve, the man kissed the girl on the lips.

They kissed again on January 11 and on January 16, with the man also grabbing the girl's bottom on this occasion.

While Judge Burnett noted these interactions were consensual, he said the man had been responsible for ensuring the behaviour didn't happen, regardless of the girl's feelings.

Judge Burnett said the offences had impacted the child, who did not "have a proper appreciation of the inappropriateness of this relationship" at the time.

"She comes from a very functional household with caring parents and, no doubt, this has created quite a deal of distrust within the family, as the parents have to deal with the fallout from her emotional state," he said.

"No doubt - and I have had teenage daughters - they are difficult sometimes about certain matters, and they lack an understanding of protective measures, but you do not..

"You are an adult, and you ought to have appreciated better."

The man has been employed at a fast-food outlet since before finishing high school, but Judge Burnett said this was now at jeopardy.

"It is highly likely that unless the organisation wishes to find you a role in administration, it would seem you would no longer be suitable ... to continue in any capacity as a manager where you will be exposed to the workforce which, in your industry, commonly involves the employment of children," he said.

Judge Burnett said the man had also breached the trust of his wife, with the offences also a "gross affront" to his children.

"You, understandably, are ashamed and expressed disgust for your behaviour, and recognise that the complainant has absolutely no blame to bear at all," he said.

The man was sentenced to six months' imprisonment suspended immediately for 21 months.

He was sentenced to 18 months' probation for the last count. The man will be listed as a reportable child sex offender.



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