A man has been sentenced to home detention for what he claimed was a “fling” with a babysitter who looked after his children in the 1980s.
The offending occurred between 1980 and 1982, when the victim was aged 13-15 and would babysit for the defendant.
The woman told the court of the devastating effects the abuse had on her and how it had deeply impacted her everyday life.
“I was a vulnerable innocent child that suffered at the hands of the offender before the court today,” she said.
“I will continue to battle this for the rest of my life.”
Her family were employed by the defendant at the time and she said she was concerned for her own children, “knowing what people you thought were trustworthy are capable of”.
“Nothing can heal the pain and suffering I have endured”.
Crown prosecutor Mike Brownlie commended the victim for her bravery.
“What we read [are] not just words on a page, this is something the victim had to endure,” he said.
He reminded the court that despite admitting to police that he had sexual intercourse with the girl, the defendant did not plead guilty until the morning of his trial.
Counsel Roger Eagles said his client was adamant he believed the girl was of age.
“The offender thought, at the time, that this was something of an affair ... he saw it as a bit of a romance,” he said.
The defendant described the situation as a “fling”, but Judge Duncan Harvey said it was hard to believe the man did not know the age of the girl, given his relationship with her family.
He gave the defendant the maximum discount for his guilty pleas as he acknowledged it came after a change in the charges, and meant the victim did not have to give evidence.
“I shudder to think of what extra damage could’ve occurred if that were to happen,” he said.
He gave the man credit for being regarded as an “upstanding member of the community” with a previously clean criminal record.
Because the offending was historical, the judge had to sentence the man in accordance with the law at the time of the offending.
“I could well understand the victim wondering what is wrong with the law ... I must approach this in the way that it would’ve been approached all those years ago,” Judge Harvey said.
He sentenced the defendant to seven months’ home detention.