Riding instructor laughed at girl's pain during sex assault
GUT-WRENCHING sobs echoed through the Southport District Court room yesterday after a teenage sexual abuse victim fled in tears.
The harrowing details of what her former riding instructor did to her over a 10-week period in late 2017 when she was 15 were too much for her to hear.
The teenage girl climbed over her own supporters in her haste to leave.
Her sobs were still audible when she was out of the room.
Her 48-year-old attacker sat emotionless in the dock as the girl succumbed to tears.
About two hours earlier he had pleaded guilty to seven charges, including four counts of carnal knowledge of a child under 16 and maintaining a relationship with a child.
The girl was able to return in time to hear Judge Jennifer Rosengren sentence the man, who cannot be named in order to protect the girl, to three-and-a-half years jail.
He will be released on a suspended sentence in 10 months and placed on three years probation.
One of the girl's supporters said outside court that the sentence and process was disappointing.
"It's taken two years to get this far," she said.
"She is going to live with this the rest of her life.
"Two years for justice but 10 months in custody is pretty minimal."
Outside the courtroom, family members of the man apologised to the girl for what he had put her through.
The court was told the girl was only 15 when the riding instructor began to make comments about her and started to hug her in 2017.
The riding instructor was more than three times her age.
By the middle of the year he was calling her "sexy" and became upset when she told him he was making her feel uncomfortable.
He began to touch her including putting his hands down her pants.
On one occasion the girl rejected his advances and he told her: "You should just let me, you know that is what I want."
The court was told that on two occasions the man picked up the girl from her home to take her to the horse riding school. Instead he convinced her to go to a hotel - the QT in Surfers Paradise and at a Big 4 caravan park - where the pair had sex.
"At one point she winced in pain and you responded by laughing," Judge Rosengren said.
She told the man he hoped he had read the girl's victim impact statement.
"Each normal life task is a challenge and brings unsafe feelings for her," she said.
"These events consume her mind and life."
Defence barrister Craig Eberhard, instructed by Nyst Legal, said the man was seeking counselling.
He said a medical report showed the man justified his actions by convincing himself the girl needed "rescuing".
The man had been married for about 17 years and had two teenage children.
*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.