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Australia Darwin man found guilty of continuously abusing stepdaughters over more than a year

04:15  02 november  2019
04:15  02 november  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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A Northern Territory man who "continuously" sexually abused his two young stepdaughters will spend at least 12 years in prison, after a jury found him guilty of nine child sex offences.

The man, who cannot be identified as it would identify his victims, repeatedly raped the younger of the two girls, known as "Child B", and indecently assaulted her older sister "Child A" in Darwin over the course of more than year, until July 2018.

Child A was aged 9 during the abuse, while Child B was aged 8 and 9.

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On one occasion, for which the man was charged with five separate offences, he and Child B were watching football together when the television froze.

The man then took the child to a dark corner of the lounge room and sexually assaulted her.

The court heard on this occasion, the young child was still suffering pain from a previous assault.

"She tried to escape but you held her neck and you kept pushing her neck back," Justice Judith Kelly told him in sentencing.

"She pushes away, you keep on saying 'one more time, one more time'. But it's always one more time."

Position of trust

The court heard the man has a limited criminal history of "minor drug offences" and has worked as a labourer.

Justice Kelly said his "good character" could have contributed to his offending.

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Justin Ladd pleaded guilty to 32 counts in connection with years of abuse he inflicted on his two stepdaughters . Prosecutors said Anne Ladd, the girls’ mother, witnessed at least a portion of the abuse . She pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless endangerment of a child as well as two counts of

"[Good character] can lead people to persuade others that they are fit to be placed in a position of trust, that they can then abuse," she said.

The man had often been entrusted to care for the sisters and their other siblings, and his crimes were described in court as "selfish" and a "gross breach of trust".

Mother blames herself

In an emotional victim impact statement, the mother of the two girls told the court she blamed herself for "letting [the man] into their household".

She described feeling guilty and worried her younger daughter would grow up to hate her, for not being able to protect her.

Child B feels the need to shower "up to five times a day", feeling dirty when anyone touches her, and requires "constant" hugging and reassurance from her mother.

Both girls, who are still just children, are in counselling.

No remorse

The man pleaded not guilty to all nine charges, which included multiple rape offences and indecent assault, which meant the young girls had to give evidence in front of a jury at a trial.

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The jurors, who spent more than a week deliberating the 16 charges, said they struggled to But in the end, they decided that Mr. Gonzales-Mugaburu was not guilty of any of the charges. Some of the boys testified that they had reported abuse to social workers and police officers over the years , but

The court heard the younger of two victims was "terrified" of seeing her attacker again.

Justice Kelly said while the man had a right to plead not guilty and have a fair trial, he demonstrated "no remorse and no empathy" for his victims in doing so.

"You abused the trust of those children and their mother. You damaged them … and you hurt [Child B] physically," she said.

"A child in particular should feel safe in her own home and this child had nowhere to go where she could feel safe".

Although the man was charged and sentenced on nine offences, Justice Kelly told the court his crimes were "a continuing course of conduct" and likely happened on more occasions than the ones he was charged over.

The 30-year-old was sentenced to 17 years and one month in jail, with a non-parole period of 12 years.

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