12 May 2021

Boy sentenced for sexually assaulting younger sister over several years

| Albert McKnight
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ACT Law Courts

A boy has been sentenced for sexually assaulting his younger sister. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

GRAPHIC CONTENT: Please be aware some readers may find this court report highly disturbing.

A Canberra boy, not yet 16-years-old, has been sentenced in the ACT Supreme Court for sexually assaulting his younger sister.

She said the abuse first began when she was eight and he was about 12.

The first instance of abuse occurred when he had been playing video games in his bedroom and she wanted to play as well. He told her she could do so if she performed a sex act on him.

She refused, but he sexually assaulted her before saying she was not to tell anyone about it.

About a year later, her brother began sexually assaulting her on a regular basis in his bedroom. She said it happened about once or twice each week over two years.

The last time he assaulted her, she was 11 years old. He forced her into his bedroom and assaulted her despite her protests.

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That evening she went for a walk with her mother, who started a conversation about personal safety and sexual assault.

Her mother saw she had tears in her eyes so asked her if something had happened to her.

“It’s [my brother]; he has made me do sex stuff,” the girl replied.

Later, when the girl’s parents spoke to her brother, he admitted it had been happening for the last couple of years.

“I tried to stop. I couldn’t help myself,” he said.

In Justice David Mossop’s recently released judgment, he said the boy knew his conduct was wrong and had taken some steps to discourage his victim from disclosing what was happening.

“It also involved an element of an abuse of trust between family members,” he said.

He said the boy had not been performing sexual acts with anyone else and was no longer allowed any unsupervised contact with his sister.

“When asked about the impact of his offending on the victim, he said that he knew there was an ongoing impact on her, but he did not know what it was,” Justice Mossop said.

“He said that he had spoken to her and apologised for his actions, stating that it would not happen again.”

He said the boy wanted to “apologise to everyone” for going through something they never expected.

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He said the girl was likely to suffer long-term psychological consequences from her brother’s crimes, “although how significant these will be is not clear”.

Justice Mossop said the reason for the boy’s crimes did not have a clear explanation.

He said it involved “exploitative self-gratification” at the expense of his sister, as well as an abuse of power due to the age disparity between them and had continued over a substantial period.

But he said the boy’s prospects for rehabilitation were very good.

“He recognises the wrongfulness of his conduct. He gives the impression of a young person who was immature and has performed serious criminal acts, but for whom there is a very low risk of future offending,” he said.

Last year the boy pleaded guilty to sexual intercourse with a lineal descendant and committing acts of indecency, both relating to a person between the age of 10 and 16.

He faced spending a maximum of 15 years in jail.

Earlier this year, Justice Mossop sentenced him to nine months jail but suspended the sentence for an 18-month good behaviour order and ruled he should not be placed on the sex offenders’ register.

The boy has not spent any time in custody for his offences.

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.

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