Country Court: guilty plea for horrific child abuse charges

A former Ballarat man pleaded guilty to four serious child sex offences in the County Court on Tuesday.

The man in his 30s, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged with sexual penetration of a child under 16, two counts of producing child pornography material, and one charge of possessing child pornography.

The plea hearing before Judge Howard Mason was adjourned for sentencing at a later date.

The offending occurred from 1999 to 2015, when a username from an online child abuse site was connected to him by police.

During an interview the accused made full admissions to police and gave them child abuse material.

He later admitted to more offences, including sexually abusing a boy between 2008 and 2011, when his victim was under 10.

The court heard the accused was known to his victim.

Prosecutor David O’Doherty said the accused had shared a bed with the victim and rubbed his back while supervising him.

The accused admitted to police he had never informed the victim’s parents about sharing a bed.

He also told police he had sexually penetrated the victim with his finger on one occasion.

The victim’s mother said her family had been turned upside down by his actions.

“I hope he gets what he deserves because he has ruined our lives,” she said.

“I am heartbroken over what (he) has done. I trusted him completely with my son.”

The charge for producing child abuse material stemmed from an earlier incident in 1999, involving a different victim.

The accused took a boy, who had approached him for a cigarette, to his house where he filmed him and child abuse material was made. 

The accused was 16 when his offending started.

Defence counsel Amelia Beech said her client had fully complied with police during their investigations.

“He admitted offending that would have been unlikely to come to light without his admissions,” she said.

“He has responded to the intervention of the criminal justice system in the most remarkable way. 

“From the moment police knocked on his door in 2016, he has turned his life around.”

The court heard the accused was also allegedly a sexual abuse victim and had mental health issues.

Prosecutor David O’Doherty said the offending could not be attributed in “anyway significant way” to the alleged abuse.