A Moyne district man who touched a young teenager’s breasts numerous times while riding with her on a quad bike has been ordered to do 200 hours of community work.
Darren Blackmore, 46, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool County Court to one representative charge of committing an indecent act with a child under 16.
The matter was initially listed for trial on Tuesday but Judge Mark Taft said that, following retracted discussions, Blackmore entered a guilty plea.
The court was told that between October 10, 2015, and February 24, 2016, the offender touched the victim’s breasts over and under her clothes on a number of occasions.
Mr Taft said the conduct occurred while the man was seated behind the victim on a quad bike or inside a shed.
In a victim impact statement the victim said the incident had changed the way she trusted people, especially men.
She said she now suffered from anxiety, which forced her to leave her job and take medication to get to sleep.
The court heard the victim had attended numerous appointments with psychologists, counselors and doctors and had fallen so far behind in her studies that she was now repeating school.
Blackmore initially denied the offending, stating that his hands had slipped.
Mr Taft said Blackmore was a man of previous good character, with an outstanding work history that was outlined in court by the man’s family and friends.
Blackmore’s sister said her brother was a big part of the community, volunteering for the local CFA and at community events.
Mr Taft acknowledged the man’s guilty plea, stating that it had spared a jury trial and the victim having to give further evidence in court.
He said Blackmore’s conduct was unacceptable but could not be regarded as “a more serious example of the offence”.
“The age disparity between you is telling,” he said.
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.