A COUNTY Court judge has told a 15-year-old victim of child sexual assault in a central Victorian town that she should not be made to shoulder any of the blame for being targeted by a man in his 40s.
Andrew Richard Villani, 43, was sentenced in the Bendigo County Court on Friday after pleading guilty to three charges including procuring child exploitation material and sexual penetration of a child under 16.
The court heard Villani communicated with the victim through Facebook Messenger.
Their conversation became sexual in nature, and Villani asked to see pictures of the girl. When she sent a picture of herself clothed, he replied “oh it’s got clothes on”.
He later commented that he could not wait to see the girl’s breasts “for real”.
The court heard Villani was aware that the girl was 15, and had Googled the legal age to have sex.
Villani then requested that the girl come to his house.
He told her she could sleep in his bed. He sexually assaulted her that night, and the girl told him to “stop”, which he did.
Villani told her that he could “go to jail if (she) told anyone”.
The incident was discovered when the girl’s mother saw a Facebook message from Villani on her daughter’s phone which made reference to his actions.
A victim impact statement written by the girl was read aloud in court, which detailed the physical and emotional turmoil she experienced since the offending.
She outlined the abuse she suffered from others in relation to the offending, the ongoing nightmares, sickness, eating difficulties and a loss of trust.
Her family was also threatened as a result of the criminal investigation.
Defence counsel Robert Timms said Villani was the only person to blame for the crime, and suggested a community corrections order could be adequate punishment to allow for rehabilitation.
Judge John Carmody said in this matter there was an obvious criminal, and a victim.
“He’s the adult, he is the one that should have been in the position to say ‘no, this is wrong’, and he failed to do so,” he said.
Judge Carmody spoke directly to the girl to reassure her that she was not to blame in any way.
Villani was jailed for two years and six months, with a non-parole period of 18 months. He was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.