A Victorian man who raped a 12-year-old girl he met at a roller rink, claiming it was consensual, was jailed for nearly nine years.
Daniel Clifton was 18 when he met the girl at Rollerway Skate Center in Geelong’s Newtown in 2014 and began grooming her.
He was one of the better skaters on the rink and the kid had a crush on him, which he capitalized on, Melbourne District Court heard on Wednesday.
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Clifton brought her home from skating, which made her dependent on him. He also gave the child a gift.
Over 12 months, between February 2014 and 2015, Clifton sexually assaulted and raped the girl seven times in his car and at his parents’ home.
Clifton, now 27, denied the charges and the matter went to court earlier this year.
“You knew what you were doing was very wrong.“
A jury in August found him guilty of 15 offenses, including rape and multiple sexual penetration of a child under the age of 16.
He stood before the court via video link from custody on Wednesday, assisted by his parents, who also appeared remotely.
Judge Peter Rozen sentenced him to up to eight years and ten months in prison.
“The vulnerability of the victim was significant, she was only 12 years old,” the judge said.
“There was a significant age difference … They were at least six years older than her and had previous relationships of a sexual nature.
“You knew what you were doing was very wrong.”
The court heard that Clifton’s attorneys had argued his relationship with the child was consensual, which they claimed put his offense at medium range.
Rozen refused as the child was much younger than the age of sexual consent.
“The issue of consent is irrelevant,” he said.
“The law reflects the community’s view that a child does not have the psychological maturity and decision-making power to consent to sexual activity until they are 16.”
Clifton, who has already served nearly three months of his sentence, must serve at least five years and 10 months in prison before he can apply for parole.
He will be registered as a sex offender for life.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT at 1800.737.732 or visit us 1800RESPECT.org.au.
In an emergency, call triple-0.
https://7news.com.au/news/vic/victorian-man-who-raped-child-he-met-at-rollerskating-rink-learns-fate–c-8941713 Victorian man who raped child he met at roller rink learns of his fate