‘Culture’ not to blame for sex pest's groping of teenager
A PALMERSTON sex pest's attempt to blame his European culture for indecently groping his teenage daughter's school friends has been rejected by a judge.
The 52-year-old, who cannot be named, was found guilty by a Supreme Court jury of two counts of indecent dealing with a child under 16 following the predatory attacks in 2017.
The court heard the first victim was having a sleepover with the man's daughter when he went into her bedroom, grabbed the 15-year-old's thigh lifted her shorts and said "So sexy" before the girl removed his hand.
During another sleepover, the man grabbed the second girl by the hips, pulled her towards him and then grabbed her bottom causing her to walk away "very quickly".
The court heard the man immigrated to Australia from Greece in the 1990s and in jailing him for a minimum of six months, Justice Judith Kelly rejected his claim the offending was a result of "cultural differences".
"The author of the correctional services report says that you maintain you are not guilty, while seemingly trying to excuse your actions due to what you claim are cultural differences," she said.
"I have to say I seriously doubt that such actions would be acceptable in Greece - perhaps you were not referring so much to a place as to a time when men often got away with such behaviour, although, it never was acceptable."
Justice Kelly said while the offences were toward the lower end of the range of seriousness, she accepted evidence the man would also rub his leg against the girls' legs under the dinner table and make "obscene facial gestures" towards them.
"I take into account that the conduct in relation to each charge was of short duration and that it did not involve touching of the genitals or breasts," she said.
"However, when the background facts are taken into account, it is apparent that the two young victims were subject to quite serious sexual harassment from you over an extended period of time."
Justice Kelly said while the man was not to be punished for pleading not guilty, it meant he had not spared his young victims the "extremely stressful" trauma of having to give evidence.
"(One of the girls) says it made her feel vulnerable and confused," she said.
"Her year 12 studies were nearly thrown away as a result of having to keep reliving the case."