Man free after child sex conviction
“MY daughter keeps asking if the naughty man is in jail - what do you tell her? She's only five years old.”
These are the words of a father devastated after learning the man convicted of sexually assaulting his daughter is free to walk the streets.
The Maclean man was given a two-year suspended jail sentence at Sydney District Court on February 5 after pleading guilty to the crime of 'sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 10'.
The 24-year-old was released back into the community after spending 14 months in prison awaiting sentence.
The victim's parents said the sentence devastated them.
They said their daughter, who was four at the time of the assault, is still plagued with nightmares and violent outbursts and their marriage has disintegrated under the stress.
They found out about the sentence when contacted by The Daily Examiner three days ago .
Initially, they were dumbfounded. Then the anger set in.
They are asking: How could this happen? How could the man who violated their daughter and caused so much pain be allowed to walk away?
It was November 22, 2007. The couple dropped their children at their grandmother's house in South Grafton for the night.
The children had asked to sleep the night there. The parents, who lived in an outlying village, stayed at a relative's house nearby.
At 6.20am the next day, police were called to the grandmother's home because a car had been broken into.
However, the grandmother soon discovered that something much more sinister had taken place. Her four-year-old granddaughter was saying a man entered the house overnight and assaulted her.
Police took away many items from the house, including an empty soda can and several items of clothing.
Included in the items was a pair of men's underpants.
The man was arrested in Maclean five days after the assault, when police matched him to DNA found at the crime scene.
He was initially charged with a string of offences including sexual assault and aggravated break and enter. After further investigation, more charges were added, including a charge of sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 10.
Four of those charges were withdrawn in Grafton Local Court on Monday after the man pleaded guilty to the more serious intercourse charge.
The victim's family did not follow the progress in court. They moved away from the Valley immediately after the assault, the mother saying they were too scared to live here anymore.
“I just want him locked up. They talk about protecting children but when they catch an offender they let him go,” she said. “There's no justice in it.'
The mother said she contacted the Department of Public Prosecutions on Thursday to see if it intended to appeal against the sentence and was told an appeal was likely.
She said the time the offender served in jail was nothing to what her daughter was going through.
“It's not something she will ever forget,” the mother said.