Man jailed over stepdaughter's assault

A man who crept into his seven-year-old stepdaughter's bed and muffled her protests as he indecently assaulted her has been sentenced to a maximum three years in jail.

The former Barrack Heights man, who cannot be identified, entered the child's room about 6am while she was still sleeping.

He had been drinking beer the night before, on the evening of Father's Day, September 5, 2010.

Wollongong District Court heard the now 30-year-old stood at the side of the child's bed and said "move over" while using his hands to roll her onto her stomach.

He climbed into the bed and pulled the girl's pyjama pants and underpants down to around her knees. He then began rubbing himself up and down against the girl without penetrating her.

Judge Paul Conlon read out documents which revealed the girl had a tear in her eye during the assault, and said to her stepfather twice: "Can you please get off me?"

The man replied: "Shh, be quiet" and "Don't tell mum or I'll smack you".

He placed his hands over her mouth to silence her.

After the assault had finished, she pulled her clothes up and walked to the middle of her bedroom in a worried and scared state. She later told police her body was shaking and she noticed her siblings in the same room, asleep in their beds.

The court was told the man had been in an on-again off-again defacto relationship with the girl's mother for three years.

He had pleaded guilty on January 10, 2011 to assault occasioning actual bodily harm on the girl's brother and was sentenced to a minimum six months' jail.

A counselling session had been scheduled for the family in March 2011 in relation to that incident. It was during a conversation with her mother about the upcoming counselling session, that the girl revealed her stepfather had sexually abused her.

The girl said to her mother: " ... he pulled my pants down ... he rubbed his thing on me ... from the back [pointing to her bottom] ... don't ring the police because he will hurt me."

The man pleaded guilty to the indecent assault charge last October 16.

Yesterday, Judge Conlon sentenced him to three years' jail with a non-parole period of two years. Given time already served, he will be eligible for parole on August 4.

The judge said the man's actions were a clear breach of trust and that it would have been a traumatic event for such a young girl.

Judge Conlon noted the man had given evidence that he was ashamed of his behaviour.

"I'm satisfied those expressions of remorse are genuine," the judge said.