Brethren Member Guilty of Indecently Assaulting Girl, 10
By Geesche Jacobsen
Sydney Morning Herald
December 19, 2006
"In Our community we really treat each other as if we are really, really close friends," the 10-year-old girl explained to the police officer.
The girl was talking about her religious community, the Exclusive Brethren.
And she was explaining how she came to stay with a man who digitally raped and repeatedly indecently assaulted her sister.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was yesterday found guilty in the District Court of four counts of indecent assault and a charge of sexual intercourse with a child under 10.
Judge Helen Murrell told the Downing Centre jury he was convicted last year of sexual offences against the girl's sister. She refused to continue his bail, pending his sentencing in January.
The judge also refused an application for the entire proceedings of the trial to be suppressed.
"It is through the publication of such matters that the community understands the extent and nature of child sexual abuse in the community … and can serve to encourage other victims to come forward," she said. The girl said she had trusted the man. "I thought he was really nice."
He had touched her under her dress while she was sitting in a car, despite his children being present, she told police.
Another time he had touched her while his wife was in the same room. He had put her hand on his penis, while hugging her sister on the bunk bed above her. "He got my hand. He does it in a sly way. And he gets you and he does it, though he's really nice. I was taken by it," she said. "You are lovable," he had told her but had insisted they keep what had happened between them.
After the assaults, when she had returned home, she no longer liked going to church, even though that was where she met all her friends.
"It freaked me out, and I hated seeing him."
The man's lawyer, Paul Byrne, SC, argued that the offences were so brazen they were unlikely, and the jury should not believe the girl.
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