Step-dad accused of child rape

A BUNDABERG man faced court yesterday accused of forcing his step-daughter into an indecent sex act.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in Bundaberg District Court on one charge of rape and one charge of indecent assault of a child under 12 who was under his care.

Crown prosecutor Sandra Cupina told the jury of seven women and five men that the girl's evidence was a key part of the trial.

“All these things happened when there were no witnesses, and because they happened some time previously, there is no scientific evidence,” she said.

“This case will rely on (the child), and your determination of her evidence.”

The girl was aged nine or ten when the alleged offences took place.

The girl's mother is also expected to give evidence that she saw the man in the bathroom with her daughter, and asked the girl if anything untoward had happened.

“After (the child) told her he touched her, they went to a women's refuge and the police station (to make a statement),” Ms Cupina said.

The Department of Child Safety became involved in the girl's case after her initial complaint.

When the mother later resumed her relationship with the defendant, and they moved back in with him in 2007, the department took the girl into care.

The girl allegedly told her carer that her stepfather had made her perform oral sex, and sometimes she was sick afterwards.

“She said she never felt safe before, which is why she didn't bring up (the allegations) in her previous statement,” Ms Cupina said.

The carer took the girl to the police station to make a statement about the new allegations, which resulted in the man being charged.

After Ms Cupina's initial statements, the court was closed while the jurors heard pre-recorded evidence.

The trial will continue today, when the defence will put forward its case.

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