9 July 2022

Alleged social media predator charged with assaulting girls may have 12 more potential victims

| Albert McKnight
ACT Courts

Samuel John Doughty, 25, was refused bail when he appeared in court on Thursday. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses allegations of sexual assault.

A man has been refused bail after he was accused of sexually assaulting two girls he pursued over social media, while the court also heard it alleged that he may have 12 more possible victims.

Samuel John Doughty applied for bail in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday (7 July) where he was also formally charged with committing three acts of indecency on a 13-year-old girl in August 2020, along with raping a 14-year-old girl twice in October 2021.

Prosecutor Lillian Thomas alleged the 25-year-old had been “preying on children indiscriminately” and had used social media to gain access to the two girls.

She said he was “well aware” of the 14-year-old’s age because she told him how old she was before the alleged offending.

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She alleged he had different user names on social media so he may be using different accounts to talk to children and the two girls were both concerned he would harass them if released from custody.

Ms Thomas said further charges were expected to be laid as police stated another 12 females alleged he sexually assaulted them.

Mr Doughty’s Legal Aid lawyer said the alleged offences were significantly dated and it appeared there had been no contact with the first girl for a long time, while there had been no contact with the second girl since January, which the girl had initiated.

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However, Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker said it had been alleged Mr Doughty “pursued” the girls over social media. She found the allegation he traced through a maps application to find her location highly concerning.

She was satisfied there was a risk of the possibility of further alleged offending and refused bail, remanding him in custody to next appear in court on 28 July.

Mr Doughty did not enter pleas.

If this story has raised any concerns for you, 1800RESPECT, the national 24-hour sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line, can be contacted on 1800 737 732. Help and support are also available through the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre on 6247 2525, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service ACT on 6280 0900 and Lifeline on 13 11 14. In an emergency, call 000.

For information about online safety, visit the eSafety Commissioner.

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