‘Protector’ charged with rape of foster child

A DEPARTMENT of Family and Community Services employee whose job was to protect abused children is accused of repeatedly raping a foster child over a two-year period, Newcastle Local Court heard yesterday.

The harrowing allegations relate to a primary school-aged girl who the accused had access to via a relationship with the girl’s foster mother, a police statement said.

The sexual assaults, some of which carry maximum penalties of life imprisonment, are alleged to have occurred between early 2010 and as recently as  November this year at various locations in the Newcastle area, the statement said.

The girl told police that after one of the rapes the accused allegedly said: ‘‘Don’t tell anyone or I’ll literally kill you. See that bat. That’s my hitting bat. I’ll hit you with that if you tell someone.’’

The Newcastle child abuse squad was alerted after the girl’s foster mother asked her and her brother whether they liked the accused, the statement said.

They said they did not.

The brother said  he did not like that the accused always took his sister to the accused’s bedroom and would tell the brother to go away.

The girl initially denied this  but later told the foster mother about the alleged assaults.

The foster mother then called the DoCS hotline and the accused was arrested and charged last Friday.

Defence solicitor David Malcolm said the accused had no relevant criminal history, the support of his wife who was in court and strong ties to the community.

Magistrate Roger Clisdell said the charges were extremely serious, but he was satisfied  the accused no longer had access to the girl who had  been moved to another foster family.

The accused, who appeared in court via audio-visual link from Cessnock jail, was granted strict bail including conditions that he not contact any of his colleagues to obtain the girl’s whereabouts.

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