A woman who was unwillingly sexually touched has delivered a powerful statement in front of her perpetrator, speaking of the ongoing mental pain she suffers as a result of his vile actions.
Ruan Hedley Pieters, a former senior property manager at an Illawarra real estate agency, sexually touched the woman despite her on one occasion telling him several times to stop.
The woman expressed her anguish in a victim impact statement at Wollongong District Court on Monday, saying she was left feeling worthless.
"At first I was confused, wondering what I'd done wrong," the victim said as Pieters bowed his head in the dock.
"I tried to come up with all the reasons it was my fault. I would have so many panic attacks ... my face became emotionless.
"Eventually it clicked in my head ... it was not my shame to bear. I feel peace in that the court process is almost finally over."
The woman added she struggles to trust others and now has to constantly manage a subsequent diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Pieters, 42, faced court for sentencing after he pleaded guilty in June to common assault and nine counts of sexual touching a person without consent.
Defence barrister Zaid Khan said his client has no previous criminal history and that he expressed "regret, remorse, shame, and embarrassment" over his "self-centred" actions.
Mr Khan added Pieters had taken some steps to understand his conduct, including engaging with a psychologist on two occasions, however was unable continue with this treatment due to cost.
Judge Huw Baker adjourned Pieters' sentence to November 17. He will remain on bail.
Read more Illawarra court and crime stories here.
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