A four-year-old girl was raped. Photo: File.
A four-year-old girl was raped. Photo: File.

Slap on the wrist for child rapist who targeted three girls

THERE was anger in the courtroom as a child rapist was sentenced for his advances on three girls under the age of 8.

Parents of two of the victims watched from the gallery as Caleb Zaccharia Mcewen, 33, was told he'll be eligible for parole in August.

Maroochydore District Court heard Mcewen engaged with three girls aged 7, 5 and 4 between January 2017 and January 2019.

Crown prosecutor Will Slack said the offending began in January 2017 when Mcewen offered toys to the seven-year-old in exchange for being able to touch her vagina on one occasion and then rub her vagina a day later.

The court heard Mcewen was on parole for drug offences at the time.

The second victim was a four-year-old girl who was raped by Mcewen on an unknown date between July 27, 2018 and February 20, 2019.

"The defendant asked to see the colour of her underpants," Mr Slack said.

"After initially saying no, the complainant pulled her pants down and the defendant touched her vagina over her underpants before he inserted a finger into her vagina.

"He told her to keep it a secret and offered her chocolate."

The court heard the third victim was a five-year-old girl who Mcewen "dared to show him her buttocks".

"Later that night … the defendant walked into the loungeroom and asked the complainant if she wanted to see his private parts," Mr Slack.

"She said no but the defendant still exposed his penis."

At Maroochydore District Court today, Mcewen appeared by video link to plead guilty to two counts of the domestic violence offence of indecent treatment of a child under 12, one count of rape, one count of indecent treatment of a child under 12 (expose) and one count of indecent treatment of a child under 12 (procure to commit).

He had been in custody for 422 days.

Defence barrister Nathan Turner read a letter of apology Mcewen wrote.

"While I live day to day with the consequences of my actions, I know so too are my victims who are also living a sentence," he said.

"I apologise to my victims I've hurt immeasurably with my utterly selfish and truly despicable actions."

Mr Turner said his client, a New Zealand citizen, had been on a disability support pension since 2010 and suffered from many mental and physical disabilities including spina bifida, lupus, chronic depression and social anxiety.

A letter from his doctor said he had been compliant in receiving treatment and made progress with his mental health.

Judge Glen Cash considered the doctor's opinion that Mcewen had possible underlying sexual deviancy and said he was someone the community "needs to be protected from".

Mcewen was given a head sentence of four years' imprisonment with parole eligibility after serving 16 months.

Outside court, the father of one victim told the Daily the sentence was "a slap on the wrist".

Through tears, the mother of another victim said the justice system needed to change in order to protect children.

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.

 


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