14 May 2023

Gungahlin businesswoman admits sexually abusing teen employee

| Albert McKnight
Court coat of arms

A woman, 29, has admitted she sexually abused a teenage girl she employed. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

CONTENT WARNING: This article refers to child abuse.

A woman has admitted she spent more than a year sexually abusing a teenager who worked for her at her business in the Gungahlin region.

She had been charged with engaging in a sexual relationship with a young person under special care between February 2021 and September 2022, relating to a girl who had been younger than 18 at the time.

“Guilty, your honour,” the now-29-year-old businesswoman said when the charge was read out in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday (12 May).

However, her lawyer, Tim Sharman of Tim Sharman Solicitors, said she would enter not guilty pleas to five other charges.

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These were grooming, using a carriage service for child abuse material, possessing or controlling child abuse material and two counts of committing an act of indecency without consent.

The woman, who legally can’t be named to protect the identity of the victim, currently faces 23 charges, but Mr Sharman said he expected some would be withdrawn in the future.

His client had originally been charged over allegedly sexually abusing two girls who worked for her at her business. They started employment there when they were aged 14 and 15.

It was not immediately clear what stage the charges laid over the first girl, who was allegedly abused when she was 15, had reached in the court system.

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Original court documents for the matter allege the grandmother of the second girl, the one who the woman pleaded guilty over on Friday, had found sexual photos of the pair in the girl’s bedroom in late 2021.

Police learned of the abuse faced by this girl in 2022 when she was 17.

Magistrate James Stewart noted the pleas and adjourned to June for another pre-hearing mention of the case. The woman remains on bail.

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