Girl’s ‘innocence taken’ by neighbour
A 58-YEAR-OLD who preyed on his 10-year-old neighbour has been jailed.
The girl's mother had trusted the man and his wife to look after her daughter and he had repeatedly had sex with the girl, the District Court in Mackay was told.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to charges of maintaining a sexual relationship, rape and indecent treatment against the girl between October 1, 2013, and February 10 last year in the Mackay district.
Judge Richard Jones jailed the man for eight and a half years. He will be eligible for parole on September 30, 2018.
Crown prosecutor Susan Hedge said the man's offending included making the girl inappropriately touch him.
"Her innocence has been taken," Ms Hedge said.
There was a "quasi-grandparent relationship" between the two. She would often visit next door to play, do her homework or have a meal, the court was told.
Ms Hedge said there had been "some level of emotional manipulation" because he had told her not to tell anyone or he wouldn't be able to live there anymore.
The man also pleaded guilty to charges of indecent treatment after he exposed himself on two occasions to the girl and one her of friends, also aged 10, who had been spending the night.
She told some school friends, who encouraged her to tell teachers and the police were informed, the court was told.
Barrister Bronwyn Hartigan, for Strutynski Law, said the man's guilty pleas were "very significant" because they had saved the girl from having to give evidence.
There was no violence or threats of violence used against the girl, Ms Hartigan said.
A girl that age is considered too young to give consent for any sexual activity, the court was told.
Judge Jones said the man's actions "display a high level of depravity".
The man had indicated he could plead guilty in the past two weeks.
"This would not be described as an early plea of guilty," Judge Jones said.