Man jailed for sex with teen

A FORTY-year-old Gympie man has been committed for sentencing in the District Court for having sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the girl’s identity, pleaded guilty in Gympie Magistrates Court this week to two charges of indecent treatment of a child under 16, and four counts of carnal knowledge.

The court heard the man had been a friend of the girl’s family for a long time before he “succumbed” to the girl’s sexual advances during a camping trip earlier this year.

They embarked on an illicit affair for about three months until the man broke it off in May because “he felt it was wrong and couldn’t continue”, defence solicitor Chris Anderson told the court.

Some time between then and August, the 15-year-old went to police and the man was charged for the offences.

Mr Anderson said his client, a family man, had been punished severely already by the hurt he had caused his family and the shame he brought on himself.

“My client and his wife had drifted apart, which ultimately led him to befriend the complainant... He did not pursue her. She made advances towards him... He initially brushed them off (but) after a while he succumbed to temptation.”

Mr Anderson told the court the complainant was a “very mature” 15-year-old who “knew what she wanted” and his client’s behaviour was opportunistic, not predatory.

“It was consensual (sex) in lay definition, not legal consent but there was some consent,” he said.

Police prosecutor Lisa Manns said the laws were there to protect young people from themselves and predators.

“Impressionable young girls need to be protected from old men who have sex with underage girls. It’s a predatory act of an older man to engage in sexual intercourse with young girls,” she said.

“It may have been an aberration on his part but it was a poorly considered set of acts that occurred over a couple of months. He abused the trust of friends and the trust of a child – which could have severe consequences...that may not come to light for some time.”

Snr Const Manns asked the magistrate to sentence the man to serve a third of a 12-18 month prison term.

Mr Anderson told the court his client had no criminal history and that fact should be given considerable weight.

Magistrate Maxine Baldwin asked police to provide her with a victim impact statement and decided to commit the matter to the next sittings of the Gympie District Court.

Gympie Times

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