A MILK BAR owner who groped two 10-year-old girls has avoided a jail sentence but his life is in tatters anyway, a court heard yesterday.
Chaogui Li, 44, of Garden Street, Warrnambool, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool County Court last week to two counts of committing indecent assaults on children aged under 16 years.
Yesterday Judge Mark Taft convicted Li and placed him on a two-year community corrections order with the conditions he complete 200 hours’ community work, undertake supervision and assessment and participate in a sex offender program.
Li has also been placed on the sex offender’s register for 15 years.
Li and his family were granted a business visa in February 2011 and he bought the milk bar for $135,000.
Judge Taft said Li was working 14 hours a day for seven days a week, Li had no prior convictions, was unlikely to reoffend and character evidence had been presented on his behalf. He said the business was now in peril and Li’s application for permanent Australian residency would now include consideration of his conviction.
“As a result of your behaviour you have not only jeopardised your one future, you have affected that of your wife and child,” Judge Taft told Li.
The father of one of the victim’s told the court he was disgusted that Li was still running his business.
“He should not be granted Australian citizenship. I am not happy about the outcome of the case,” he said.
Judge Taft said Li had shown a bewildering blindness about appropriate interactions between an adult and girls aged under 16 years. The incidents late last year involved kissing and fondling of the girls.