Former coach gets 20 months for grooming teenage girl, 14

A FORMER coach involved with junior sporting teams from a small community in the Albury region was yesterday jailed for 20 months over grooming a teenage girl for sexual activity.

Magistrate Megan Greenwood imposed a minimum term of 15 months on the man, 25, but his legal representatives immediately lodged a severity appeal against the penalty.

Ms Greenwood outlined in Albury Local Court the impact of the offences on the girl, who was 14 when they took place last year.

“The victim has done absolutely nothing wrong,” Ms Greenwood said.

But in a victim impact statement she said she felt judged and blamed, with her reputation having been ruined.

Ms Greenwood said a pre-sentence report indicated the man had shown little insight into his offending or remorse for it.

The man appeared for sentencing after pleading guilty to a grooming charge and indecent assault on a girl aged under 16.

Barrister Christine Mendes said the offences were an aberration and out of character for the man.

“He has been shunned by members of the community,” she said.

She said the pre-sentence report indicated the man realised what he did was abhorrent and unacceptable behaviour.

The court had previously been told in tendered facts the man and the victim knew each other through the local community.

Over a period of several months, the man was sending text messages to her, which became sexually explicit after some time, with the suggestion of developing a relationship.

There were repeated requests for various forms of sexual activity.

He arranged a meeting by mobile phone with the girl about August 27 and rubbed his hands over her breasts and vagina.

In a separate incident, he ran his hands over her hips and kissed her on the cheek.

The victim’s father examined her phone in early September and saw a significant number of messages between his daughter and the man.

The victim attended the Albury police child abuse squad office on September 11, she was interviewed and disclosed what had taken place.

Police contacted the man, who attended the Albury station on November 4 and was arrested.

He declined to answer any questions on the advice of his solicitor.