A County Court judge has jailed a man for up to 11 years for the "vile" sexual assaults he perpetrated against his stepdaughter.
The offender sexually assaulted the adolescent girl while his wife, the child's mother, was at work.
The girl tried to push the man off her and repeatedly asked him to stop, but he persisted.
Afterwards, the girl reported the assault to her mother and she contacted police.
The girl told police of an earlier incident in which the man had ripped the crotch of her jumpsuit when she was asleep on the couch.
She went to bed, but the man later came in and sexually assaulted her.
On this occasion too, she was in the care of her stepfather while her mother was at work.
Family violence intervention orders were issued to protect the perpetrator's wife and her children, but the man breached one within 10 days.
Over 15 days, the man sent his wife 42 messages after she told him to stop contacting her, and later made multiple attempts to call her.
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When first interviewed by police, the man denied any deliberate sexual abuse, but this contradicted the forensic evidence.
He later said he had fallen asleep in the living room and woke up in the victim's bedroom, and told police he had a condition in which he would do things while asleep.
But the man later pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual assault of a child under 16, sexual penetration of a step-child (incest) and persistent contravention of a family violence intervention order.
Judge Jeanette Morrish said the man's crimes against the girl were very serious.
"You were meant to be supervising and keeping her safe whilst her mother was at work, not sexually abusing her," Judge Morrish said.
The man's lawyer submitted the offending was not protracted, there was no evidence of grooming or premeditation, and there was no extra violence involved.
The defence counsel argued the offending was at the lower end of the scale of seriousness.
But the Crown prosecutor said that there was some violence involved when the man ripped the girl's clothing.
The prosecutor said the offending involved a gross breach of trust.
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Judge Morrish said there was a degree of premeditation involved, as the man waited until his wife was at work and the children in the house were asleep before perpetrating his crimes, but agreed there was no additional violence to that inherent in the crimes.
She also noted that while the man pleaded guilty, he maintained until March this year that he was in a sleep state when he committed the crimes, and there was little evidence of remorse, aside from a text to his wife apologising for his actions.
But she said the man's plea had spared the victim and her mother the ordeal of giving evidence.
The restrictions imposed in custody because of the COVID-19 pandemic made the man's incarceration more onerous, Judge Morrish said, and he was unable to see his son or access programs.
She also noted the man had himself been the victim of familial sexual abuse as a child.
The man had no previous relevant criminal history.
A psychologist said the man posed a moderate risk of sexual reoffending, but intervention treatments would improve his prospects of rehabilitation.
Judge Morrish sentenced the man to 11 years' imprisonment, with a non-parole period of six years, seven months and six days. He has already served almost a year of the sentence.
He will remain on the sex offenders register for the rest of his life.
Had he not pleaded guilty, the man would have spent at least eight years and three months in prison, with a maximum term of 13 years and nine months.
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