An Illawarra man who confessed to molesting his younger sister when they were both children had himself been the victim of “systemic” sexual abuse at the hands of multiple adult men, a court has heard.
The man, who along with his sister cannot be named for legal reasons, told his sentence hearing in Wollongong District Court that he’d been repeatedly abused numerous male adults including his grandfather and a school a teacher, leading him to believe the sexualised behaviour was a “normal” part of growing up.
The court heard the man, now in his 30s, was aged between 9 and 11 and his sister between 5 and 7-years-old when he began touching her inappropriately in the early 1990s.
The woman, now aged in her late 20s, told police the abuse occurred when they played “doctors and nurses” and that she would be the patient and her brother would “treat” her.
She recalled multiple incidents where her brother digitally penetrated her and forced her to put her hand on his erect penis.
The abuse continued until the man began dating a girl at the age of 14.
When interviewed by police following his arrest in mid-2015, the man admitted abusing his sister, saying he recalled “incidents” but not details.
“I never ever actually had sexual intercourse with her [but] I do remember rubbing myself onto her,” he said.
Meantime, the victim told police that she reported her brother’s actions to her mother when she was 9 or 10 years old, however her mother did not believe her, saying “[name] wouldn’t do that”.
The woman said she disclosed the abuse to her step-father in the early 2000s when she was in high school, prompting him to call a family meeting with the siblings and their parents.
She said her brother admitted “touching” her during the “heated and emotional” meeting. When asked why he’d done it, he responded “well it was done to me”.
Neither cases of abuse were further discussed by any of the family members or reported to police at the time and only came to light when the woman reported her brother’s actions in 2015, court documents said.
He was charged with multiple counts of indecent and sexual assault. He pleaded guilty part-way through his district court trial last month.
In court on Friday, Crown prosecutor Nerissa Keay called for a full-time jail sentence to be imposed.
However defence lawyer Anton Hughes said a suspended prison sentence was appropriate given his client’s young age at the time, his history of sexual abuse and his lack of any criminal record or re-offending.
Judge Mark Marien reserved his judgement until October 20.