A Hunter man who raped a 12-year-old four decades ago has lost an appeal to work with children

Appeal denied: Former Newcastle Family Court judge, acting District Court judge and NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal principal member Graham Mullane rejected a Hunter man’s appeal for a Working with Children check after the man displayed little insight into the seriousness of a child rape more than 40 years ago.A HUNTER man who raped a 12-year-old girl with three other males in 1974 as part of a bikiegang promotion rite known as “getting your wings” has lost an appeal to care for a relative’s children.

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The child was held down andrepeatedly raped by three men and a juvenile, but when the man was asked to describe the crime more than 40 years later, while seeking to overturn a finding that he remained a risk to children, he said it was “something stupid Idid when Iwas young” and “a bad choice”.

He also continued to blame the 12-year-old, former Newcastle Family Court judge, acting District Court judge and NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal principal member Graham Mullane said in a decision published on Wednesday.

“It is a very serious concern of the Tribunal that the applicant, 41 years after his conviction and sentence, has not accepted responsibility for this serious offence, and continues to deny and minimise the offence and blame the child victim,” Judge Mullane said.

In a statement to police in 1974 the Hunter man, then 20, confirmed the bikiegang promotion rite requiredgang members to have sex with one woman, one after the other. The promotion rite also included oral sex.

The Hunter man, who cannot be named, knew the girl. The offences occurred when the girl was at a house where the four males were invited to a party while another older girl’sparents were away.

The juvenile chose the 12-year-old as an opportunity to“get his wings”, an East Maitland trial was told.

TheHunter man told police he had sex with the 12-year-old, after the juvenile and the other men,left the room and then “We all went back in again and watched” as the sexual assaults continued.The Hunter man was sentenced to a minimum six months’ jail after telling police in 1974 that he had not given any thought to the impact on the victim.

During a hearing in 2015 after the Children’s Guardian refused to issue him a Working with Children clearance after hiswife gained custody of hergrandchildren, he denied that the crimes against the 12-year-old were horrific and said she “didn’t seem to care”.

His evidence that the girl “didn’t just hang around the bikies, also the football players”, and his reference to the 12-year-old as a “lady”, showed the man continued to minimise his crimes and blame the victim, Judge Mullane said.

The man also falsely declared he had noother criminal offences, and failed to acknowledge assaulting his former wife in the Upper Hunterin the 1990s, after forcing his way into her home at 1am, hitting her and pulling her phone out of the wall.

He had a long history of serious alcohol-related driving offences and admitted smoking cannabis.

“The applicant has a serious criminal record for the period from 1974 to 1997 inclusive. That included convictions for at least 4 serious offences other than the disqualifying conviction,” Judge Mullane said.

The Children’s Guardian expressed concern about a psychiatrist’s assessment of the Hunter man as low risk, based on Department of Family and Community Services records showing his wife’s grandchildren hadnot been subjected by him to physical harm, threats of physical harm, sexual abuse, lack of protection from serious or threaten harm or physical injury.

The granting of a Working with Children clearance would allow the Hunter man to work with any children, on a paid or unpaid basis, the Children’s Guardian said.

His wife’s grandchildren came into her care in July 2014, and the man moved out of their home in November 2014 after disclosing he had a child sex conviction during aDepartment of Family and Community Services home visit.

Judge Mullane declined the man’s appeal after finding he continued to pose a risk to children, and potentially posed a moderate, or evenhigh, risk of re-offending.