A Ballarat foster carer is on trial for allegedly sexually penetrating a child under the age of 12.
The accused, who The Courier is not naming to protect the identity of the complainant, is pleading not guilty to six charges, duplicated with alternates, stemming from alleged abuse of a child in out-of-home care at his unit. The child was aged between seven and nine at the time.
On the opening day of the County Court trial at Ballarat, in front of Judge Anne Hassan, the court was told the man and the child lived together in a two-bedroom unit for 25 months - the man and the child had separate rooms.
Crown prosecutor Russ Hammill said in his opening statement the accused took custody of the child, who was separated from their siblings.
The six charges relate to separate allegations of sexual acts which occurred at the unit, including in the accused's bed.
Mr Hammill said the child was visiting siblings when their carer noticed an "inappropriately" close relationship between the child and the man.
The child eventually moved from his care to live with his siblings and their carer, who Mr Hammill said began to notice sexualised behaviour.
The carer followed mandatory reporting processes and involved the police, who interviewed the child.
Mr Hammill said other sexual behaviour was mentioned in the interview that he brought before the court for context.
Defence lawyer Amy Brennan said the jury must remove emotion from their decision-making process as the evidence is presented across the trial.
"These sound like pretty unpleasant allegations - keep in mind that for now, that's all they are, they're just allegations," she told the court.
"(The accused) has firmly denied anything sexual ever happened - you'll see and hear he was as concerned about what he was told as you were listening to the prosecution's opening."
While there are 12 charges on the indictment, each of the six incidents has two alternate charges attached - one for sexual penetration of a child under 16, and one for sexual penetration of a child under 12. This is because the law changed during the period of alleged offending.
The trial continues Thursday.
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