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Man jailed for molestation

A BUNDABERG family spent the past week in Mackay supporting their 35-year-old relative as he faced charges of sexually assaulting his young stepdaughter.

The mother, father, sister, brother-in-law and several close friends sat shocked in the public gallery of Mackay District Court as the man, who cannot be identified by law, was jailed for 18 months for molesting his stepdaughter four times, including while on an Easter vacation with the family.

The court was told the man used emotional blackmail on his young stepdaughter to prevent her telling her mother or brother about the assaults.

The mine supervisor, who has been working in Moranbah, in the central highlands, for the past three years, was convicted of four molesting charges . He was found not guilty of six other charges.

Crown prosecutor David Morters said the sexual assaults occurred between 2003 and 2006 when the girl was aged between eight and 11 years.

The first two sexual assaults occurred in Moranbah.

The next two happened during the Easter break in 2006 when the family was holidaying.

The stepfather took the child to a rotunda near the hotel they were staying at and molested her.

“She was distressed, crying, and continued to cry when they returned to the hotel,” Mr Morters said.

“Another incident occurred when he and the girl were sleeping in the same room as the mother and the girl’s brother.”

Defence barrister Charles Clark said the man grew up in Bundaberg and had strong support from his family.

Since the sexual assaults were discovered, the man’s marriage had broken down and he had suffered stress because of the charges he was facing and was on anti-depressants, Mr Clark said.

Judge Julie Dick, SC, said there had been a high degree of trust imposed on the man to act as a responsible stepfather and he had breached that trust.

It also was clear that the child was “obviously distressed” by the assaults on her.

The man was jailed for 18 months with no recommendation for early release.

He will now be subjected to the strict conditions of ANCOR, the Australian National Child Offender Register, for 20 years.

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