SYDNEY: Australia has been rocked by the case of a 10-year-old indigenous girl who was gang-raped in her home community and the revelation that her nine rapists had not been given prison sentences, in part because the judge found that the victim "probably agreed" to have sex.
The case has prompted national introspection after it emerged that the court's leniency was only one of many institutional failures toward the victim.
"I'm disgusted and appalled by the reports that I've seen," the newly elected prime minister, Kevin Rudd, said Monday. "I am horrified by cases like this, involving sexual violence against women and children. My attitude is one of zero tolerance."
The case has also refocused national attention on the longstanding unresolved problems in Australia's indigenous communities and the ineffectiveness of government attempts to address them, particularly in the troubled Cape York peninsula on Australia's northeastern tip, where the rapes took place.
"The picture emerging from the gang rape is of a bureaucratic culture that accepts a lesser standard of rights and responsibilities for indigenous people on Cape York," the newspaper The Australian, which first reported the story on Monday, said in an editorial Tuesday.
The rapes took place in April 2006 in the remote Aboriginal coastal community of Aurukun.
In the last two months, nine people have pleaded guilty in the case. In October, in a court in Aurukun, six teenagers, all minors at the time of the offence, were sentenced to 12 months of probation, and the court decreed that no criminal conviction should be recorded.
In early November, three others - ages 17, 18 and 26 - were given six-month suspended sentences in a court in the district capital, Cairns. The 26-year-old, Raymond Woolla, already had been listed on the Australian National Child Offense Register after being convicted of other child-sex offenses.
"If you get into any more trouble in the next year, you could end up in jail," the district court judge, Sarah Bradley, told Woolla in her sentencing statement.
Bradley has defended her actions, telling The Australian that she thought the sentences were "appropriate" given that the prosecutor had not asked for custodial sentences to be imposed.
Even though, under Australian law, a 10-year-old is too young to give informed consent, the court found there were mitigating circumstances.
"The girl involved was not forced, and she probably agreed to have sex with all of you," Bradley said in her judgment.
The Australian reported Tuesday that the case came to light when the girl went to the clinic in Aurukun asking for condoms and a pregnancy test, and it was discovered that she had contracted gonorrhea.
Anna Bligh, the premier of Queensland, which includes Cape York, has ordered a review of every sentence handed down in sexual assault cases in the Cape York area in the last two years.
The child at the center of the case is developmentally disabled, having been born with fetal alcohol syndrome, and she was first sexually assaulted when she was seven years old, when she contracted syphilis.
Christian judge releases gang rapists of 10 year old girl watch
- Thread Starter
- 09-04-2011 23:59
- Thread Starter
- 10-04-2011 00:00
Anyways, what are those crazy Muslims up to?
- 10-04-2011 00:03
It's from 2007.
- 10-04-2011 00:10
what does his religion have to do with anything
- PS Helper
- 10-04-2011 00:15
Meh, how can anyone possibly draw any positive or negative concusion to the Judges actions based on the minimum amount of factual data given.