The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Former officer jailed


Aformer western Victorian police officer has been jailed for almost five years for the rape and sexual assault of a junior officer.

A County Court judge, during sentencing last week, told the court the man had failed to take responsibi­lity for the offending – maintainin­g the victim consented to what the jury had determined were sexual assaults, and denying any wrongdoing in the offending, which occurred at his home in 2020.

The man was sentenced to four years and nine months imprisonme­nt and must serve two-and-a-half years before he is eligible for parole.

The Weekly Advertiser has not published the man’s name and specific details of the matter, to protect the identity of the victim.

The man, who was 41 at the time of offending, was a leading senior constable and had worked at a western Victorian police station for 15 years.

The victim had worked at the same station for a period of time when she offered support to the man, his wife and colleagues in the wake of the death of another police officer.

The couple invited the victim and her partner to their home for drinks and to commemorat­e their friend. The jury has found the man had repeatedly forced the victim to touch his genitals and exposed himself to her throughout the evening.

When the victim and her partner went to bed, the man sent her a series of sexual messages, including asking her to participat­e in a ‘three way’ with his wife.

The victim repeatedly said no and told him ‘it was the beer talking’ and to ‘sleep it off’.

After the last message, he appeared in the doorway of the bedroom, where the victim ushered him into the hallway, pushed him away and told him to ‘pull your head in’ as he sexually assaulted her. He then raped her. After she returned to the bedroom, and tried to wake her partner, the man continued to message her, asking: “Do you want to **** me?”. The victim again said no.

She initially said nothing about the offending but later confided in her partner and a senior police officer, who encouraged her to make a formal statement.

The jury heard the victim felt degraded, humiliated and blamed herself for not stopping the man’s behaviour.

She felt ostracised, embarrasse­d, isolated and anxious in social and work environmen­ts and her mental health had been ‘seriously impacted’ by the offending and aftermath, which she said had been ‘destructiv­e’ to close relationsh­ips.

The judge told the court the man’s insistence was ‘arrogant and brazen’ – particular­ly as children were sleeping nearby.

“You may be remorseful about the way you behaved around and towards your wife, but I see nothing to indicate contrition for the harm that you have caused (the victim),” the judge told him during sentencing.

“Your version of events, which I am told you still maintain, asserts that (the victim) consented to what the jury found were sexual assaults and denies that there ever was penetratio­n,” the judge told him.

The man has since been convicted in 2021 of sexually assaulting another police officer in NSW — a month prior to the offending in Victoria.

The man retired from policing in 2021.

The jury heard the man, who has been diagnosed with complex posttrauma­tic stress disorder and other mental health conditions relating to his role as a first responder, had engaged in multiple surreptiti­ous affairs and pursued an open relationsh­ip.

He had turned to alcohol to deal with emotions and later sought psychiatri­c and psychologi­cal treatment.

The judge acknowledg­ed his previous good character, including community service from a young age.

He was jailed for four years and nine months.

Support available

If you need support, phone 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732, Sexual Assault Counsellin­g Australia on 1800 211 028 or the Sexual Assault Crisis Line on 1800 806 292. People can access The Orange Door, in Horsham, on 1800 271 042. People do not need to report an assault to police to get help.

People can also phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

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