A WARRNAMBOOL man with an intellectual disability has been sentenced to five years in a Melbourne residential treatment facility for sexually assaulting a young boy.
Christopher Austin, 20, previously of Edwin Court, was found guilty of rape by a Geelong County Court jury.
In sentencing, Judge Felicity Hampel said that in June last year Austin had been at a party and was significantly intoxicated.
She said Austin took the victim into a room and sexually assaulted him.
“You left him in the bedroom — before doing so you made a throat slitting motion and threatened to kill him if he told anyone,” Judge Hampel told Austin.
At about 9.30pm the following night the victim was taken to hospital.
An examination revealed he had suffered significant blunt force trauma. The police were notified, but the victim initially told officers he did not want to speak and became very upset.
The following day he told the police that Austin had hurt him and threatened to slit his throat if he told anyone.
Judge Hampel praised a Warrnambool police officer involved in the investigation.
“Detective Senior Constable Danny Wright should be commended for his sensitive rapport building and questioning, which enabled that terrified and traumatised child to say what had happened and to do so with sufficient detail for what he said to be relied upon as evidence at trial,” she said.
At the trial, Austin did not give evidence but through his defence counsel maintained his innocence, even suggesting the injuries sustained were self-inflicted or caused by someone else.
A psychologist’s report said the victim was experiencing a number of trauma-induced symptoms, including sleep difficulties, crying, rocking and repeating “I don’t feel safe”. He also had a fear of the dark, of public places, of dying and of males who had a similar appearance to Austin.
Judge Hampel said Austin was a member of the Warrnambool Aboriginal community and his upbringing had been marred by physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
He was expelled from primary school for violence, diagnosed with attention deficient hyperactivity disorder and was regularly sniffing petrol and paint when he was 10 years old.
“You report a long history of depression, with frequent self- harm and suicide attempts from the age of 11,” Judge Hampel said.
“As a result of that it is clear that I must give real weight to the fact that you are a vulnerable, young, Aboriginal person at risk of self-harm in custody. You have a long history of poly-substance abuse. You have for many years consumed extraordinary amounts of alcohol and cannabis.”
Judge Hampel said it is not surprising that Austin had amassed a long criminal history: he was before courts 19 times between 2004 and 2012 and on parole at the time of the rape from a youth justice centre.
Judge Hampel placed Austin on a residential treatment order for five years and he was registered as a sex offender for 15 years.