Man facing charges of assault

A NORTHERN Rivers man facing 12 charges of indecent and sexual assault is alleged to have impregnated a teenager three times, the Lismore District Court heard yesterday.

The 49-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the complainant, allegedly impregnated the then teenager once when she was a 15-year-old and twice after she turned 16.

The accused faces charges relating to incidents alleged to have occurred between 1997 and 1999 when the complainant was under 16.

In front of Judge James Black, the Crown alleges the defendant groomed the teenager after he became romantically involved with a family member.

The complainant, now 27, gave evidence via video link that playful tickling led to more serious touching and eventually sexual assault after she turned 15.

“It started with subtle things,” she said.

“He would be watching television next to me and we would have an arm wrestle and he would say how strong I was, things like that.”

The alleged sexual assaults began just after Christmas in 1998.

“He came in (to the bedroom), I was in the middle of folding (clothes), he turned me around holding my shoulders and sat me on the bed,” the complainant said.

“He then laid me down. He took my undies off, I was wearing a skirt or a dress, he took my undies off and took his board shorts down.”

After asking the accused to stop, the defendant allegedly replied: “No usually means yes.”

The complainant said the sexual assaults continued throughout the summer of 1998-99 and that she eventually fell pregnant to him.

She told the court that she believes she miscarried early in the school term of 1999, although she admitted she had not seen a doctor.

“He told me not to,” the complainant said.

“He said it was a good thing I miscarried.”

It was also revealed in court that the pair had a consensual sexual relationship after the complainant turned 16 but that it ended in November 1999 after a further two pregnancies.

The complainant went to police in 2002.

The defence counsel admitted her client had a sexual relationship with the complainant after she turned 16 and while he might have been morally wrong, he had not committed any crime.

“It was a mutual caring relationship,” the defence said.

“She was absolutely besotted with him.”

The trial will continue today.

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