30 September 2023

Rapist caught on video sentenced to years behind bars

| Claire Fenwicke
ACT Court façade

Benjamin Rue was sentenced to prison over the sexual assault and rape of a woman in her own home. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses sexual assault and rape.

A 44-year-old man who went to a woman’s apartment to consume drugs, then raped her when she passed out, has been handed jail time by the ACT Supreme Court.

The victim had been living in an apartment with her two young children, where she had installed CCTV cameras as she had been selling illicit drugs.

Benjamin Rue, a freelance tattooist, visited her home in the early hours of 27 July, 2020, where the pair listened to music and used the drug GBL (gamma butyrolactone).

The woman had one camera installed in her bedroom, which she switched on at one point when Rue left the room as she “had a bad feeling”.

She ended up losing consciousness after consuming some more GBL, during which time Rue decided to touch her several times without her knowledge or consent.

“The offender intermittently touched the victim … stopping only when she appeared to stir or regain consciousness,” the court documents stated.

After almost two hours of this offending, Rue escalated his behaviour, eventually raping the victim.

READ ALSO ‘I want to speak out’: two sisters allege man abused them when young, trial hears

She regained consciousness at this point, with court documents stating she was “confused and didn’t know what to do”. She asked Rue to leave so she could get her children ready for day care.

“The complainant told [a friend] ‘I woke up and he was having sex with me. I don’t know if I did something to warrant that. I had the cameras turned on, but I’ve been too scared to watch it’,” the documents stated.

“The complainant and [friend] watched the CCTV footage together, [and the friend] told her that she should report the matter to police, but understood that the complainant may have been told by at least one other friend not to press charges as she ‘didn’t want to ruin a married man’s life’.”

About a year later, in June of 2021, the victim reported her sexual assault to Belconnen Police Station and told them she had video footage of what happened.

However she withdrew her complaint shortly afterwards.

It took another year for her to contact police again, and this time she provided them with the CCTV footage and had an interview with officers.

Rue was arrested on 10 November, 2022.

READ ALSO Verdicts in trial of ex-top rugby player, second man accused of rape

He previously pleaded guilty to rolled up counts of an act of indecency without consent and sexual intercourse without consent in July.

When sentencing Rue in the ACT Supreme Court, Justice Louise Taylor said he had admitted he “knew that the victim was not conscious and therefore not consenting” to the acts of indecency.

“In my view, for Count 1 [the act of indecency], the offender can be observed engaging in conduct best described as ‘testing the waters’. That is, the offender can be seen making physical contact with the victim and awaiting her response before progressing the contact,” Justice Taylor said.

While the extent of the victim’s ability to consent during the sexual assault couldn’t be established, Justice Taylor said all cases of sexual intercourse without consent should be treated as offences of “considerable seriousness”.

She described Rue’s offending as “opportunistic and predatory” and while she was satisfied he was affected by GBL to some degree during his crimes, she did not consider his moral culpability should be moderated as a result.

“The moral culpability of the offender for Count 1 is very high. The offender knew the victim could not consent and persisted with the acts for a long period of time. Her vulnerability was obvious and the offender exploited that vulnerability for his own gratification,” she said.

“While I am not satisfied that the offender knew the victim was unconscious for Count 2, I nonetheless consider his moral culpability to be high. The offender knew the victim had ingested GBL and he knew she had been very recently unconscious.

“I am satisfied the offender turned his mind to the possibility that the victim was not consenting and proceeded nonetheless.”

While Rue felt he could comply with an intensive correction order (ICO), his history of drug use – including almost daily use of methamphetamine and cannabis – and the assessment that he was a “medium risk” for re-offending meant such a pathway was not recommended.

“The offender’s reluctance to address that issue does impact an assessment of his prospects for rehabilitation and requires some degree of specific deterrence,” Justice Taylor said.

“The offender seems almost resigned to the idea that he will go to prison for these offences and consequently considers his drug use to be something he can address while in custody. He will get that opportunity.”

Rue was ultimately sentenced to three years and five months behind bars, ending 21 August 2026.

He’ll be eligible for parole in July 2025.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can contact police or the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre. If your life is under threat or it’s an emergency, call Triple Zero (000).

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.