Viet­nam vet jailed for sex as­sault

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - LEA EMERY

A 74-YEAR old man who sex­u­ally as­saulted an in­tel­lec­tu­ally dis­abled wo­man in a Palm Beach park will spend the next three months in prison.

Wayne Clif­ford Howlett lured the 24-year-old wo­man into the bushes, un­dressed and touched her in­ap­pro­pri­ately de­spite her say­ing “no”.

Howlett pleaded guilty last month in the South­port District Court to sex­ual as­sault and in­de­cent deal­ing with an im­paired per­son.

Judge Kather­ine McGin­ness yes­ter­day sen­tenced him to three months in prison.

He will also have to serve two years on pro­ba­tion af­ter re­lease and com­plete a sex­ual of­fend­ers pro­gram.

Howlett, a Viet­nam War vet­eran, qui­etly said “yes” when asked if he un­der­stood his sen­tence. He hung his head when he was led into the hold­ing cells be­hind the court.

Howlett lured the wo­man, who has the in­tel­lec­tual abil­ity of a child aged be­tween three and six, into bushes at a Palm Beach park on June 26, 2016.

“You took off her clothes in a pub­lic but screened area and touched her in­ap­pro­pri­ately,” Ms McGin­ness said.

“You as­sisted her to dress be­fore leav­ing.”

The court was told the wo­man, who did not have the abil­ity to con­sent,

“no” to his ad­vances.

“You had a rea­son­able be­lief she was not im­paired,” Ms McGin­ness said.

“You are say­ing you did not hear her say ‘no’.”

The court was told Howlett had taken his hear­ing aids out to go swim­ming be­fore the at­tack and did not hear the wo­man say “no”.

Howlett suf­fers from post­trau­matic stress dis­or­der re­lated to his war ser­vice.

Ms McGin­ness said Howlett’s wife of 20 years had writ­ten to the court ex­press­ing her sup­port.

“She is shocked and dis­tressed by your of­fend­ing,” Ms McGin­ness said. She said she also took into ac­count Howlett’s plea of guilty in sen­tenc­ing as it pre­vented the vic­tim from hav­ing to give ev­i­dence. still said

SHE IS SHOCKED AND DIS­TRESSED BY YOUR OF­FEND­ING

JUDGE KATHER­INE MCGIN­NESS

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