A 16-year-old girl fled her home in the middle of the night after she was sexually assaulted by her uncle.
The 38-year-old Corangamite Shire district uncle was found guilty of sex offences in Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Thursday, August 24.
He was sentenced to a community-based order on September 20 which involves 200 hours of unpaid work.
Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge found the man guilty of the offences last month, stating he was drunk after consuming 15 standard drinks in three hours while at home in August 2020.
He said the man gave his niece an alcoholic drink before hugging her, touching her bottom and then attempting to stick his tongue down her throat.
Mr Lethbridge said when the girl pulled away, the man intentionally touched her breasts.
He said she immediately messaged a friend for help.
"Very shortly thereafter she secretly fled the home she had lived in for at least two to three months," the magistrate said.
"Upon being picked up, she was distressed and crying."
Mr Lethbridge said he rejected the man's denials and there was no other alternative than the victim being drunkenly assaulted by her uncle.
In an impact statement read to the court, the victim said she no longer had the same relationship with her family.
She said she suffered anxiety, felt triggered by males and found it difficult to trust others.
On Wednesday the magistrate said the man had maintained his innocence despite acknowledging he could not remember.
He said the offences involved a "significant breach of trust" and caused a great deal of distress, harm and trauma to his victim.
Mr Lethbridge said the man's prospects of rehabilitation were "only mediocre" and he had refused to come to terms with what he did.
He said when considering whether to jail the man, the court must make an objective and unemotional assessment of the seriousness of his crimes.
The magistrate said fortunately for the man, his conduct occurred over the victim's clothes.
He placed him on the correction order, which will last for two years.
The man will be a registered sex offender for eight years.
During the contested hearing, the man told the court he was tipsy and not drunk, and denied touching his niece in a sexual way.
In a recorded police interview played in court, the man said his niece was living with them at the time.
"We just took her on like she was one of ours," he said.
- Support is available for those who may be distressed. Phone Lifeline 13 11 14; MensLine 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800; beyondblue 1300 224 636; 1800RESPECT 1800 737 732.
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