16 January 2024

Father admits repeatedly raping son's 15-year-old girlfriend over several hours

| Albert McKnight
Coat of arms outside court house

A man has pleaded guilty to repeatedly raping the underage girlfriend of his son. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

CONTENT WARNING: This article refers to child abuse.

A “lonely old man” has admitted he repeatedly raped his son’s 15-year-old girlfriend after telling her he wouldn’t help his own child get released from a youth justice facility unless she let him sexually assault her.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of engaging in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16 when he appeared in the ACT Supreme Court flanked by custodial officers on Monday (15 January).

The son had been incarcerated at a youth justice centre when the girl reached out to his father over the social media application Facebook to get his assistance in helping her communicate with her boyfriend more easily, court documents say.

The son had told her that she could go to his father if she needed anything, so when she began having difficulties with her own parents in 2023, she began staying over at the man’s home and sleeping in her boyfriend’s bedroom.

Over several days, the man, who is aged in his 50s, began giving her marijuana and methamphetamine.

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She was sleeping in her boyfriend’s bedroom one night when the man walked in, woke her up and asked her, “What would you do for my son?”

He claimed a legal officer had told him that he had control over whether or not his son could get out of the youth justice centre. He then pulled down his pants, told her he was a “lonely old man” and asked her for sex.

When she asked him if he was serious, he replied, “It’s up to you … Or he could just stay in”.

The girl told him no, but he kept asking her, telling her his son would “never know”, and because she started to feel afraid of him, she felt she had to comply with his requests.

The man then forcefully raped her four times and sexually or indecently assaulted her numerous times over several hours, continuing even though she told him she didn’t want to do what he wanted and made comments like, “Can we stop?” and, “Please, no”.

At one stage, she started to cry, but she covered her mouth.

“She recalls that she did that to not hear herself scream,” the court documents say.

The man also repeatedly warned her not to tell anyone; otherwise, he would hurt both her and his son.

The girl left the next morning. Over the next few days, he repeatedly messaged or called her, asking her to meet up with him and threatening that she couldn’t see his son again if she didn’t answer, but she made up excuses not to meet him.

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Police analysed the clothing the girl had worn that night and the man was linked to his crimes by DNA. She and his son later ended their relationship.

The man, who is legally unable to be named to protect his victim’s identity, did not apply for bail when he was arrested in May 2023 and originally pleaded not guilty to his charges.

After he pleaded guilty on Monday, Justice David Mossop adjourned until February to allocate a sentencing date, directed the preparation of a pre-sentence report and vacated the man’s trial, which had been scheduled for later this year.

The man remains in custody.

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 02 6247 2525, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service ACT 02 6280 0900, and Lifeline on 13 11 14. In an emergency, call Triple Zero.

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