Teen hails jail term for predator
A TEWANTIN runaway says five months behind bars for one of the two men who got her and two juvenile friends drunk before having sex with them will go some way to fighting her daily demons.
“Rachel” was one of three girls, two aged 14 and in school uniform and a 13-year-old girl, who wagged school on the Sunshine Coast for a day in the big city more than two years ago.
The trio were picked up by Brisbane man Darren Jeffrey Benton, 31, and a 29-year-old Canadian man, who got the girls drunk on alcohol and high on cannabis before having sex with each of them.
Benton was sentenced to jail last week for two years, suspended after five months.
He had pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court to nine charges, including numerous counts of unlawful carnal knowledge, indecent treatment of a child under 16, and aggravated supply of cannabis to a minor.
Two months earlier Grabowski walked away from court on a wholly suspended nine-month jail sentence.
He pleaded guilty to supplying drugs to minors and indecent treatment of a 13-year-old girl.
“I wish it was more, because he will just suck it up for a couple of months and get out for good behaviour,” “Rachel” said of Benton.
Grabowski, who was here on a working visa, stayed in Australia on a criminal justice visa until his court case was over.
He returned to Canada shortly after.
That fateful day on May 15, 2009, when “Rachel” and her now estranged friends wagged school and hitch-hiked to Brisbane had ruined her life, the teenager said.
“Rachel” broke a vow of silence between the girls to get justice.
“At least now I know when I go to Brisbane I don’t have to be so frightened about seeing him – at least for the next five months,” Rachel said.
The 16-year-old, who in May told of her fears that both men would escape jail, says she has repaired some fractured family relationships once considered irreparable.
She says she and her boyfriend of 18 months will battle on together.
WHAT THE COURT HEARD
Benton and Grabowski promised the girls, who had $1 between them at the time, a night of “food, pot and alcohol” and free accommodation.
At the pair’s Kangaroo Point unit, the two men then gave the teenage girls alcohol and four to five marijuana “joints”.
“Rachel” and her friends left the unit and slept in a dumpster, where they were found by police.
Benton told the court last week he “honestly” believed the girls were aged 16 or older.
“Rachel” and her two friends lost their virginity to two men more than twice their age.