A CENTRAL Victorian man who was found guilty of sexually abusing his young sister-in-law has been jailed for six years.
The 37-year-old man was sentenced in the County Court on Tuesday after a jury convicted him on charges of indecent act with a child under 16 and sexual penetration of a child under 16.
In his sentencing remarks, Judge Greg Lyon said it was clear the man had caused "actual, significant, and enduring pain" to the woman he abused.
"It is devastating to hear from the young woman... that she feels as if you destroyed her," Judge Lyon said.
Court documents released to the Bendigo Advertiser said the man began abusing his sister-in-law when the girl was about 10 years old and he was in his early 20s.
On the first occasion of abuse, the girl was massaging the man's back when he told her to massage his legs.
He kept telling the girl to move her hands up higher before grabbing one of her hands and placing it on his groin.
When the girl moved away, he told her not to tell anyone what happened.
The man again sexually assaulted the girl while alone in a car with her about a month later, before abusing her a third time not long after.
The girl was laying on a bed with her baby niece and the man when the 10-year-old fell asleep.
The girl woke to the man lying behind her in a 'spooning' position. The girl froze and pretended she was still asleep.
The man proceeded to sexually assault the girl. Court documents said the girl held in her tears throughout the assault.
The final incident happened about four years later while the girl's parents were away. She was sleeping in their bed when the naked man positioned himself behind her.
He placed his arm around her torso before he sexually assaulted her. The girl yelled at him to get off of her but he told her to go back to sleep.
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The girl was crying as she pushed away from him. The man got up, apologised, and told her not to tell anyone.
After the incident, the girl disclosed the abuse to her cousin. The girl's family decided to deal with the disclosure internally, so the man would not take his wife and young daughter away as he had threatened.
The family had a meeting to deal with the issue, but the girl refused to take the matter further. She was made to apologise to the accused.
A few years later, the man called the victim where he apologised for the offending and made excuses for his conduct.
When the girl's sister separated from the man, the victim felt comfortable disclosing the abuse to police.
The victim read out a statement to the County Court last week, saying the man had betrayed her and left her "completely broken".
Judge Lyon said the man repeatedly sought out the girl and abused her in places where she was entitled to feel safe.
The judge said the man's moral culpability was high as he repeatedly targeted the young child in what was a complete breach of trust.
Judge Lyon also noted the man had not demonstrated any level of remorse or insight into his offending.
The judge said for that reason, protection of the community was a key consideration in sentencing.
The man was convicted and jailed for six years, with a non-parole period of four years. His 86 days of pre-sentence detention were reckoned as served.
The 37-year-old will be on the sex offenders register for the rest of his life.
If you or someone you know needs support, contact Centre Against Sexual Assault - Central Victoria on 5441 0430 or the Sexual Assault Crisis Line on 1800 806 292.
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