Valerie Horton

Man jailed for sexually abusing intellectually disabled girl

A MAN who sexually abused an intellectually impaired 10-year-old girl has been jailed in Maryborough.

The 44-year-old man pleaded guilty in Maryborough District Court to five charges of indecent treatment, which occurred between July 31, 2011 and March 1, last year.

Crown prosecutor Clare Kelly said the man was the child's father-figure, as he had been in a relationship with her mother for six years.

The child suffered from a genetic disorder known as Fragile X, which causes intellectual disabilities, and Ms Kelly said this and the man's position of trust as a de facto father made the offences all the more serious.

"It was a significant breach of trust," Ms Kelly said.

The court heard the man asked the girl twice to expose herself to him, and touched her inappropriately three times at various times throughout 2011 and 2012.

Eventually the girl confided in her grandmother and the man was confronted about his behaviour.

The court heard the man then contacted the police and made full admissions about the offences.

Defence barrister Katarina Prskalo said the man had a long-running struggle with depression, which required heavy medication.

"He is extremely remorseful," Ms Prskalo said, adding the man had no criminal history at all prior to these offences.

Judge Hugh Botting read character references supplied on the defendant's behalf, and said he was satisfied the offences were out of character.

"It is difficult to understand how you came to commit these offences," Judge Botting said.

The man was sentenced to 15 months jail, and will spend three months behind bars before being eligible for parole.