GRAPHIC CONTENT: Some readers may find this court report highly disturbing.
A Canberra man has been found guilty of repeatedly raping his 14-year-old cousin when he was aged 20. As a consequence of the rapes, she fell pregnant.
Now aged in his 30s, the man was sentenced and jailed in the ACT Supreme Court on Friday (11 June) for the historical offences. His jail sentence will mean he will miss the birth of his own child to his current partner.
Justice Chrissa Loukas-Karlsson told the court he had initiated sexual conduct with the girl in the early 2000s when she was nine and he was 15, but the girl did not tell anyone as she was confused by what he was doing.
It was only when his niece, a young child who was in same the room as them, began to cry, that he stopped.
The girl did not see much of him for several years, but when she was 14 and he was 20, he apologised and said he regretted what he used to do to her.
She asked him why he did those things, but he did not answer.
Despite his apology, some weeks later, he went into a bedroom, held her down so she couldn’t move and raped her.
Months later, he took her for a drive to a mountain near Woden, told her to get out of the car and raped her near a large rock.
This time, the girl became pregnant.
The girl had an abortion at 13 weeks, making up a story that she had been raped by a stranger and didn’t want police to investigate.
She eventually saw the man and told him she had become pregnant by him.
He said he was “sorry”.
Years later, she went to the police and asked them to investigate. In late 2018, police confirmed the man had fathered the aborted child.
The girl had told the court the man’s actions “tore [her] into pieces”.
“You are my cousin, and as a little girl, I looked up to you,” she had told him.
“You took advantage of me in an indescribable, disgusting way.
“You chose to abuse me at every opportunity you could.”
The girl’s sister told the court her family believed the girl had kept the secret of who raped her to herself, but it turned out she had told her little brother.
“So these two kids kept this secret,” she said.
The man wrote a letter apologising for his actions, saying “it has also caused emotional damage” to his family and he felt “so much shame” when telling them of his charges.
“I have grown and bettered myself over the last 11 years,” he said.
Many members of the man’s family wrote letters of support for him.
His brother said as children they were exposed to domestic violence and sexual indecency, and he and his siblings now suffered from mental health problems due to the trauma they faced.
His girlfriend described him as an “amazing partner” and an “honest, loyal and sensitive man”.
“We built a life and family together,” she said.
Justice Loukas-Karlsson told the man he had rehabilitated himself since his crimes, but “your rehabilitation does not erase the past”.
“You, of course, would not want someone to behave the way you did … towards your loved ones, towards your family,” she said.
Justice Loukas-Karlsson sentenced him to four years and six months’ jail, saying he would spend at least 18 months behind bars.
“This does mean you will miss the birth of your child because you must go to prison. And that is punishment in itself,” she said.
“You would not be in this position had you not violated and impregnated the victim.
“She was a child and you are an adult, and she was a child who had to have an abortion.”
The man had pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual intercourse with a person aged under 16, as well as a count of committing an act of indecency on a person aged under 16.
He can be released from jail in December 2022. He must also serve a two-year good behaviour order.
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.