Man faces sexual assault charge against teenage relative on property near Bendigo

A MAN allegedly sexually assaulted his step-granddaughter on a property near Bendigo after driving her into a paddock away from the rest of the family, a court has been told.

The man in his 60s – who has not been identified to protect the victim’s identity – appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday where he denied some of the allegations put forward by police.

He travelled from elsewhere in Victoria to visit the family on their rural property several years ago when he asked the victim, aged 16 at the time, to come with him to cut firewood in a paddock.

They drove to the area and the man gave the girl alcohol. When they got out of the vehicle, he allegedly grabbed the girl’s breasts and “commented on their size”.

The man then allegedly grabbed the girl’s breasts under her top – the only accusation the man denied.

The girl immediately drove the vehicle back to the house and the man allegedly continued to attempt to sexually assault her from the passenger’s seat. He also followed her to her bedroom, before other members of the family became aware of the incident.

The matter was taken to police six months later, and the man was charged more than a year after the incident.

He made “partial admissions” during an interview with police, and described the incident as “only fun” and admitted that it “should not have happened”.

The man intended to plead guilty to the charge on Wednesday, but disagreed with several of the facts put forward by police.

“I do not accept that I put my hand down her jumper,” he told the court.

“There is no way I touched her skin.”

The court heard the man was unlikely to be sentenced to jail, but was facing a community corrections order.

Magistrate Patrick Southey said the alleged offending was a “terrible breach of trust”.

The matter was adjourned to a later date.