Victim placed next door to accused

A NORTHERN Rivers teenager who claimed she was sexually assaulted was placed in crisis accommodation just a few doors from her alleged abuser, a Lismore court heard yesterday.

The complainant, now an adult, said that the accused, her brother-in-law, first touched her inappropriately in her swimming costume when she was ‘11 going on 12’.

The man, who can’t be named to protect the complainant’s identity, is charged with five counts of sex with a minor and seven of indecent assault.

The complainant told the Lismore District Court that after she terminated a pregnancy to him at 16 she was sent to live with her grandma.

But she said at 17 her sexual assault counsellor found her a place in community housing four to five doors from the accused’s house.

The complainant did not say if she told her counsellor that the man lived in the same street.

But she admitted climbing out the window every night during her three months in the community house (which had a curfew) to be with the accused.

The complainant also acknowledges having a consensual relationship with the accused from the age of 16 to 19.

She told the court she lived with him for about a year after her sister moved out on hearing about the affair.

Defence barrister Kate Traill yesterday showed the court emails the complainant, at 17, sent to the accused.

She told him she wanted to have sex with him and asked: “Am I making you horny, baby?”

Ms Traill claims the complainant was in love with the accused and they did not have sex until she was 16.

Ms Traill said the complainant went to the police when she learnt her lover was moving out.

But the complainant says the accused began touching her breasts and crotch as a child.

She said at 16, when their relationship became known, she became estranged from her sister and mother.

She claims she kept seeing him because ‘he was all I knew’.

“I was looking for help and support – I didn’t get it; he was the one there feeding me lies,” she said.

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