A six-year-old girl was one of three victims of a Rockhampton man who was convicted of child sex abuse when he was a teenager.
A six-year-old girl was one of three victims of a Rockhampton man who was convicted of child sex abuse when he was a teenager.

Man faces court years after a series of child sex offences

A SIX-year-old girl was one of three victims of a Rockhampton man who was convicted last month of child sex abuse when he was a teenager.

He also continued to target young girls while he was on bail for other child sex offences.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty in Rockhampton District Court on January 13 to six counts of indecent treatment of a child.

Crown prosecutor Tiffany Lawrence said that at the time of committing the first three offences the defendant was about 14 to 16 years old.

Ms Lawrence said the reason the matters were being heard in the District Court was because a complaint wasn't made until 2018 and by that time, he was 23 years old.

She said the victim involved in the first three offences was six to eight years old at the time.

Between 2008 and 2010, the defendant preyed on his niece in her home.

The victim's mother walked in on the defendant in bed with the victim, with strange movements seen to be happening under the covers.

The court was told the victim didn't respond out of fear and the defendant said nothing had happened.

The mother left and the defendant continued what he was doing until he decided to leave the room.

The victim, the defendant and another male relative were playing in a yard when the two males asked the girl for a hug.

The victim went to them and they picked her up. The defendant was standing in front of her while the other was behind, and both were grinding against her.

The third offence against the niece happened in the same time period, when she was about seven to eight years old and the defendant was 15 or 16.

The offending took place in his bedroom.

He pulled his pants down and exposed himself to the victim. He forced her to masturbate him.

When he asked her to perform oral sex on him, she refused. He became angry and told her to get out of the room.

There was a delay in the complaint being made. A pre-text call was made in 2018, between the victim's mother and the defendant.

He told the mother he had only touched her stomach accidently while helping her to get dressed.

During the call he said he admitted to being sorry for all the things he had done to the victim.

He was charged with the three offences and released on bail.

Ms Lawrence said on three separate occasions in early 2019, the defendant slapped the bottoms of two different girls under 16 years of age.

She said the first girl was 13 years old and was the friend of his partner's younger sister.

She was staying at their house and sleeping alone in a room.

The defendant went to her room and wrote a text message on his phone.

He showed her the message, which said, "I want to kiss you and make out with you".

She told him no, but he didn't say anything. She stood up and went to leave and he slapped her on the bottom.

She told him not to do that and he laughed at her.

She went to complain to the partner's father, who confronted the defendant about the accusation.

The defendant denied it before ultimately admitting he did it, saying he was only mucking around.

On another occasion the 13-year-old was swimming when the defendant went behind her in the water and touched her on the bottom.

The defendant also slapped his partner's 15-year-old sister on the bottom as she was climbing out of the pool.

Ms Lawrence said the 25-year-old defendant had an irrelevant criminal history, containing only three entries, and no prior convictions for sex related offences.

"The victim was only six to seven years old - she was very young and scared. It has had an ongoing influence on her."

"There is a need for the community to know what he has done and there needs to be consequences if he continues down this line of conduct," she said.

Barrister Scott Moon said the defendant saw a psychiatrist who prepared a report in September last year.

Mr Moon said the report revealed the defendant, clinically, appeared to have a mild intellectual disability.

He said the defendant was subjected to abuse when he was 12 years old.

The court was told he was introduced to pornographic movies and exposed to sex education by his sister, who engaged in sexual activity in front of him.

Mr Moon said the defendant's father died when he was a young child and his grandparents, to whom he was closely attached, had since passed away.

He said the defendant was looking to obtain a job at Queensland Rail, earning about $250,000 a year, and had been told by about five trainers he had a good chance of getting that job.

"If he was given a criminal conviction, he would become a reportable offender and would have to disclose these convictions to Queensland Rail, which would have an impact on his employment opportunities," Mr Moon said.

Judge Michael Burnett revealed what the victims said in their impact statements.

"The first victim says she suffers from severe depression and anxiety and attempts self-harm," he said.

"One of the other victims says you made her feel uncomfortable. Not only did she not want to be touched that way, but it was by a strange man. It has affected her ability to trust."

Judge Burnett said the real issue in the case was whether a conviction should be recorded.

"You present as someone who has a proclivity to commit offences against young girls.

"That cannot be overlooked," he said.

"However, what you do have in your favour are your chances at finding employment.

"The court does not have a crystal ball and cannot predict how your life will unfold.

"You are 25 and have not had any employment since leaving school 10 years ago, although you have undertaken some courses and required a fair bit of assistance, I suspect.

"You are extremely disadvantaged in the competitive labour market and it is highly unlikely you would be a likely candidate for the sort of employment you aspire toward, due to your intellectual disabilities, lack of employment history and the fact you would require a level of assistance.

"I am not satisfied recording a conviction would be unjust against you.

"I think the odds favour the protection of the community and its interests over your own personal ones."

The defendant was sentenced to two years' probation. Criminal convictions were not recorded for the first three offences, but they were for the last three.

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