Man jailed for raping girl, 7

A 20-YEAR-OLD man convicted of having sex with a young girl underneath her Kyogle home has been sentenced to six years in jail.

Members of Jonathon Clark's family sobbed in the public gallery of Lismore District Court yesterday as Clark was sentenced to six years jail with a non-parole period of three years after pleading guilty to having sexual intercourse without consent and occasioning actual bodily harm to a seven-year-old girl.

On September 3, 2009, Clark, a "trusted" family friend, visited the home of the girl.

The defendant was a regular visitor to the victim's home.

The court heard Clark and the girl were under the house when the sexual assault occurred. Clark then left the house and the young girl told her father a short time later.

Defence barrister Megan Cusack said the defendant had a mild intellectual disability and had been in the care of his mother until he was placed into custody in August.

She said he struggled to stand up for himself in jail.

The victim's mother, who read out a victim impact statement in court, said her daughter was once a happy, innocent, carefree child.

"She has had to grow up quickly and knows how people can betray her trust," she said.

"She explained to the counsellors that girls were weak and anyone could hurt them."

The woman's hands shook as she explained how her daughter wished she was a boy and had nightmares about her ordeal.

"Her life is different because of what Jonathon did to her," she said.

Judge James Black said an offence like this caused "significant trauma" to the victim that could manifest in many ways.

Judge Black took into account the defendant's young age and mild intellectual disability.

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