Wollongong man, 40, accused of repeatedly raping 16-year-old girl living with his family

An Illawarra man who molested a teenage girl that his family had invited to live with them was so brazen in his abuse that he repeatedly raped her while his wife slept next to them, a court has heard.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons but is a 40-year-old married father-of-two, is accused of subjecting the 16-year-old girl to an escalating course of predatory behaviour that began just weeks after she moved in with the family in April.

Court documents said the pair met through their mutual attendance at a regional church.

In early April, the teen revealed she was having trouble at home with her parents and wanted to move out of their house, prompting the man and his wife to agree to take her into their home.

It is alleged the man began sending the girl flirtatious, intimate text messages. She told police she was uncomfortable with the content of the messages but didn’t raise the issue out of fear of “causing trouble” between the man and his wife.

Police allege the interaction escalated to kissing and digital penetration, which often occurred early in the morning before the rest of the family woke up.

The girl repeatedly told the man they behaviour had to cease, at one stage saying “I’m only 16, this is killing me, we have to stop”.

Court documents said the girl began having nightmares due to the stress of the abuse and the situation with her parents, prompting her to start sleeping in the same bed as the man and his wife.

It is alleged the man raped the girl “for weeks” while his wife slept next to them.

The situation was brought to a head last week when the girl thought she might have been pregnant, prompting her to disclose the abuse to the man’s wife.

The woman confronted her husband and kicked him out of the house.

The man subsequently reported himself to police, allegedly disclosing the entire history of the abuse. He apparently told police he viewed himself as a parental figure to the teen and categorised their relationship as similar to “father/daughter”.

He was charged with one count of aggravated sexual assault of a person under his authority.

During a bail application in Wollongong Local Court this week, defence lawyer Sian Aldis said the man had no criminal record, was not a flight risk and could live with relatives in the area. She said he would agree to abide by any conditions imposed by the court.

However, Magistrate Michael Stoddart refused to release the man from custody, noting the strong case against him and the high likelihood of a jail sentence if he was convicted.

The case returns to court on November 15 for plea or mention.