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Stepdad, 65, sent to jail for groping 14-year-old's bottom

JAIL TIME: Magistrate Belinda Merrin said the community denounced the indecent treatment of children and such offences would not be tolerated.
JAIL TIME: Magistrate Belinda Merrin said the community denounced the indecent treatment of children and such offences would not be tolerated.

SHE should have been celebrating her 14th birthday. Instead the teenager was indecently grabbed and squeezed on the bottom by the man she considered her stepfather.

Facing the Bundaberg Magistrates Court today, the man who can not be named to protected the girl, pleaded guilty to one count of indecent treatment of a child under 16.

The serious charge attracts a mandatory term of imprisonment unless there are exceptional circumstances, and despite the man's defence lawyer Nick Larter arguing there were, Magistrate Belinda Merrin disagreed and sentenced the man to serve two months of a nine-month jail term behind bars.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Dean Burgess told the court on a number of occasions the man would touch the girl's buttocks on the outside of her clothes while she was watching TV or when he hugged her.

"Eventually she advised her mother and a friend,” he said.

Despite being told by the girl's mother - his de facto partner of 11 years - that the behaviour was inappropriate, the 65-year-old continued to do so.

The girl had also told the man to stop but he instead took her 14th birthday as an opportunity to again grab and squeeze her buttocks.

"She felt extremely uncomfortable,” Sgt Burgess said.

When police spoke the man on January 17 this year, he admitted "he f***ed up, didn't know why and needed help”.

Arguing to keep his client out of jail, Mr Larter said the timeliness of the man's plea, his full admission to police, the fact that he had sought help and was actively engaged in rehabilitation and that a conviction for like offending was committed more than 40 years ago, combined to constitute exceptional circumstances.

But Ms Merrin disagreed and said that the man also had convictions for dishonesty, street type offending and an assault.

Although the most recent conviction was 22 years ago, Ms Merrin said it meant the man did not come before the court with a clean criminal history.

She said the community denounced the indecent treatment of children and such offences would not be tolerated.

"You were in a position of trust and you abused that,” she said.

"She told you to stop ... you didn't, and on a day that should have been a happy one for her ... you abused that trust again.”

The man will spend two months behind bars with the remaining seven months to hang over his head for 18 months once released.

Topics:  buncourt bundaberg magistrates court indecent treatment of a child jailed



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