Shepparton News

Man faces court on sex charges

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A man who had sex with a 13-year-old girl at least four times will have to wait until December to find out his fate.

The 68-year-old Shepparton man pleaded guilty in the County Court to maintainin­g a sexual relationsh­ip with a child under 16 years.

The court heard of four occasions the man had sex with the girl over six months in June 1991, including in her home, in a bungalow and in a car in the Shepparton region.

On one of the occasions the girl woke to the man having sex with her.

Prosecutor Ruth Champion told of how the girl was frightened and in pain after the offences.

Ms Champion said the man also sexually penetrated the girl on many other occasions during this time.

The man told the girl not to tell her mother because she would “not believe her” and she would think it was the girl’s fault for “hitting on” him, Ms Champion said.

The girl reported the offending to police in May 2018 when she was an adult.

In June 2018, police got the victim to call the man to discuss the offending.

Ms Champion said in that conversati­on the man put blame back on the victim, saying “we done it together”.

In a victim impact statement the victim told the court of the effects the offending had had on her life.

“You made me believe that, because I was too scared to say no, that I wanted it,” she said.

She also spoke of having PTSD, stomach ulcers and anorexia, and how she worried that something like this would happen to her own daughters.

The man’s defence counsel argued that his client was now old and not in good health — having had several strokes.

He said the man required daily help from his daughter, and that his cognitive state was low.

Judge Gerard Mullaly, however, said the prison population was ageing and it was not unusual to see someone of the man’s age and older in prison.

“It’s not unusual for someone to come before the courts 20 years after the offending, particular­ly in these sort of cases,” he said.

Ms Champion said the offending was serious, and was not “an isolated incident” as it occurred on these four occasions as well as others.

The case was adjourned so a neuropsych­ological assessment could be completed.

The matter will return to court in December.

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