The man attacked the woman in her tent at a state school rowing regatta at Lake Barrington. (www.discovertasmania.com.au)
A former Tasmanian rowing coach who raped and indecently assaulted a mother at her son’s regatta has been sentenced to four years in prison.
- The former coach told police he was “drunk, out of control and couldn’t control his sexual impulses”, the court heard
- The sentencing judge took into account the man’s remorse and prospects of rehabilitation
- The court also heard the attack happened in the close presence of children
The Supreme Court of Tasmania heard the 60-year-old — who cannot be named for legal reasons — attacked the woman in her tent in the middle of the night at a state school rowing regatta at Lake Barrington, south of Devonport, in March last year, while her teenage son and other parents and children slept in swags nearby.
Last month, a jury unanimously found the man guilty of one count of rape and three counts of indecent assault.
The former coach, who was known to both the victim and her husband, regarded him as a “friend” and “trusted him completely” as he coached their son, Wednesday’s sentencing hearing was told.
The court heard it was the first regatta the victim had attended without her husband, who had to remain in Hobart to care for their other children.
Supreme Court Justice Helen Wood told the court the victim had been sleeping alone in a tent when she woke to the man coming through the tent’s entrance.
The court heard the woman continually and repeatedly told the man he could not come in, that she loved her husband and that his behaviour was completely inappropriate.
“She expressed refusal clearly and unequivocally, saying ‘no’ more than 20 times. There was no room for mistake,” Justice Wood said.
‘Imagined infatuation’, court hears
The court heard the man later told police he was “drunk, out of control and couldn’t control his sexual impulses”.
When handing down her sentence, Justice Wood said the man’s alcoholism and ego were factors and that he had an “imagined infatuation” with the woman, which was “not reciprocated, encouraged or grounded in reality”.
Justice Wood told the man that the fact the attack happened where the woman was vulnerable and in the close presence of children, particularly with her own son sleeping nearby, were all aggravating factors.
“You breached your position of trust, as someone held in regard and as a role model for young people,” Justice Wood said.
Justice Wood said she took into account the man’s expressed remorse, prospect of rehabilitation and the fact he had lost friends, his employment and his voluntary role as a rowing coach.
“But given her unmistakable opposition, a heavy sentence cannot be avoided,” Justice Wood told him.
Justice Wood sentenced the man to four years imprisonment with a two-year non-parole period and also ordered his name be placed on the sex offenders’ register for three years from the date of his release.