‘Predatory act’: Man assaults 13yo girl while sleeping
A man who sexually assaulted a young girl while she was sleeping hid in the bushes when police arrived, a court heard.
Kirk Martin Anthony Ward, 30, sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl and then said he didn't remember doing it.
Crown prosecutor Christopher Cook told Maroochydore District Court Ward and the victim were involved in a club.
There was a Christmas party for the club on December 22 last year.
After the party the group went home to a Coast home, where the victim went to sleep on a couch.
Ward asked to sleep in the same room on a mattress.
"Sometime later the complainant woke to the defendant rubbing her right breast," Mr Cook said.
The court heard it was over the top of her clothes and the victim said "no" before pushing his hand away.
"The complainant watched the defendant close his eyes, feigning to be asleep," Mr Cook said.
"The defendant then used his hand to rub the complainant's left hip."
She moved his hand away and watched him pretend to fall asleep again.
The court heard Ward again grabbed her hip a few minutes later, to which she pushed his hand away.
The victim then ran up to the stairs to tell her father.
"She was crying and visibly shaking," Mr Cook said.
"No doubt this was a clearly upsetting experience for the young girl."
Mr Cook said the offending was persistent and described it as a "predatory act".
The court heard the victim's father then punched Ward in the face.
Police were called and found Ward hiding in some bushes.
Ward pleaded guilty in Maroochydore District Court on Friday to indecent treatment of a child under 16.
Ward had no criminal history.
Ward's barrister Malcolm Harrison said the offending was at the lowest level.
He told the court a suspended jail sentence would be appropriate as Ward would likely be a victim to predatory behaviour if he served time in custody.
Mr Harrison said Ward initially denied the sexual assault to police.
"It may well be a sense of self denial," he said.
"He has always instructed he does not have any recall of committing the offence but accepts wholeheartedly that he did it.
"He is remorseful."
The court heard Ward was a father-of-three and had learning difficulties.
Judge Richard Jones said the assault had an impact on the victim and her family.
"A particularly disturbing element of this offending was that this young girl clearly saw you as a trusted friend," he said.
"This offending not only involved a breach of trust but it also involved what I perceive to be a level of cunning behaviour.
"There was some quite severe punishment passed onto you.
"While the court cannot ever condemn such violence, one can well understand why a father who's 13-year-old girl just reported being sexually molested would react in such a way."
Ward was sentenced to eight months jail, wholly suspended for 18 months.
Ward will now be a reportable sex offender for five years.