Canberra man charged over incestuous ‘relationship’ with underage Illawarra cousin: court

A 19-year-old man has been accused of having an incestuous “relationship” with his underage cousin while living with her family in the Illawarra.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is alleged to have statutorily raped the 15-year-old girl over six weeks between June and August.

The girl told police her cousin instigated the assaults – at one stage pinning her down on a chair so he could molest her.

However, when arrested earlier this week, the man said he’d been a participant in some of the acts only at his cousin’s direction.

When pressed about allegations he digitally penetrated her while they both watched TV , the man claimed his cousin had taken his hand and put it on her leg, only to then move her body so his hand “fell onto her vagina”.

On another occasion, his fingers “slipped into her vagina” when she moved, he said, although told police he was still able to grasp a Playstation console with his other hand and continued playing his game of ‘Fortnite’. 

Police documents tendered during the man’s court appearance this week said the pair had been communicating on Snapchat for almost a year, often exchanging nude pictures, before the man travelled from his home in Canberra to visit the girl and her family in late-June.

The alleged victim told police her cousin began molesting her within days of his arrival, mostly late at night when other members of the household were asleep.

On one occasion in early August, the girl claims her cousin took her to the backyard of their home south of Wollongong and told her to sit on a chair before “straddling” her so she couldn’t move.

She claims he molested her for 15 minutes, repeatedly ignoring her requests for him to stop.

The man left the house the following day after an argument with his aunt – the girl’s mother – over an unrelated matter. She subsequently disclosed the assaults to her mother, then police, leading to the man’s arrest.

He was charged with seven offences including five counts of having sexual intercourse with a person 14-16 years.

Prosecutors opposed the man’s application for court bail, saying they feared for the safety of the alleged victim and held concerns he may try to contact her if he was at liberty.

However, Magistrate Susan McGowan agreed to release the man after defence lawyer Jonathan Kearney said he could live with his father in Canberra and would abide by a condition not to approach or contact his cousin in person or via social media.

The case will return to court in October.