Two Illawarra teens blackmailed into having sex with a man almost three times their age have described how they held hands and cried while trying to reassure each other they would survive the ordeal, a court has heard.
The two girls, both aged 15 at the time, told police they were pressured into their sexual encounter with Wayne Cassell after he threatened to tell their mothers they were away from home in the middle of the night without permission.
At one stage during the prolonged incident, which occurred under an observation deck on Wollongong Beach, one of the girls whispered to the other "it's okay, you know it's going to be okay".
Cassell, 42, was arrested on January 27, two days after the girls reported the matter to police.
Cassell initially told police the girls had approached him for sex, but he had rejected their advances. However, when officers produced a picture from a mobile phone showing Cassell and one of the girls mid-act, he revised his story and admitted there had been sexual activity, but claimed the girls had told him they were 17.
During a recent court appearance, Cassell admitted that story was also a lie, pleading guilty to 11 offences including eight counts of having sex with a child aged 14 to 16 years.
A set of agreed facts tendered to Wollongong Local Court revealed Cassell had met one of the girls one night a year earlier through her then-boyfriend, but the pair had had no contact until they met again in January.
The court heard the girls snuck out of their respective houses in the early hours of January 23 and planned to travel to Wollongong.
They ran into Cassell at a 7-Eleven near their homes, at which time he sexually propositioned them.
The girls declined and walked to a nearby McDonalds, but Cassell followed them.
They asked staff to distract Cassell so they could get away however he overheard them and became angry, threatening to tell their parents they were out and threatening to become violent with them and the McDonalds workers.
The girls then boarded a train to Wollongong and Cassell joined them. They told police they felt anxious and scared and thought if they did what he wanted, he wouldn't hurt them or tell their parents what they'd done.
Cassell and the teens ended up near Wollongong Beach, with the girls later telling police they initially thought if they agreed to watch him masturbate he'd leave them alone.
However, Cassell said they'd "pissed him off" and he still planned to divulge their secrets to their parents.
Cassell began masturbating in front of them, however he soon turned his attention to the two girls.
They told police they felt coerced into the sexual activity out of fear of what Cassell might to do them, or divulge to their parents, if they refused.
When Cassell saw the teens holding hands, he said to them "are you holding hands because there was a spider earlier?"
"Yes," they replied, too scared to respond any differently.
Once Cassell had left the location, one of the girls called a friend and said "he made us have sex with him, we didn't want to. We didn't even agree, we barely, we barely agreed on just watching."
Speaking to another friend, the other girl said "we didn't have a choice".
The girls subsequently reported the matter to police and were interviewed by specialist abuse squad detectives two days later.
The girls told the officers they'd been blackmailed into having sex with Cassell.
"[The victim] said she did things with [Cassell] because she didn't want him telling her mother anything, she didn't want him to get anyone to her house and she didn't want him to hurt her or [the second victim]," police said.
When arrested, Cassell immediately asked police "is this to do with [victim 1] and [victim 2]?"
"They said they were going to do this, they said they were going to cry rape," he said, before suggesting both girls had lied to him about their age so he would get in trouble.
Cassell will face sentencing in Wollongong District Court at a later date.
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