Father jailed after indecent assault in victim's home

Wagga Local Court
Wagga Local Court

A Wagga father who indecently assaulted a woman while she was at home with her four young children has been sentenced to jail. 

The victim was preparing dinner for her family when her children told her there was a knock at the door – but she never could’ve expected what was about to ensue. 

According to the facts, with the pretence of selling a camera, Steven Wheatley, 31, was welcomed into the victim’s home after she recognised him as the son of a former friend. 

The victim asked the accused to leave on a number of occasions. 

The facts state the victim pushed the accused away during the indecent assault but he continued to assault her before offering a massage. 

Wheatley’s mother and grandmother shed tears as they listened to the magistrate read out the shocking details in Wagga Local Court on Monday. 

Handing up a number of references solicitor for the accused Emily Winborne, told the court the incident was way out of character for Wheatley. 

“His family (who handed up references) are aware of the circumstances of the offending, there is nothing I can say in respect of that,” Ms Winborne said. 

“He has difficulty understanding and remembering the details of life – he finds it more challenging than the average person.” 

In her submissions, Ms Winborne said Wheatley had been on a disability support pension since he was 16 years old and had been assessed as a low to medium risk. 

Ms Winborne said the accused was willing to undertake counselling in relation to his alcohol and drug use and to help him deal with the shock deaths of his younger brother, grandfather and best friend. 

Police prosecutor Priscilla Jones said she had a strong concern for the victim. 

“This happened in her home and the observations of the police was that she was highly emotional – it clearly had a significant effect,” Ms Jones said. 

Magistrate Erin Kennedy said the incident was a serious example of the type of offence as she sentenced the accused to eight months prison with a non-parole period of three months. 

“This woman’s home is her safe place, she was left shocked and frightened,” Ms Kennedy said. 

“This conduct in our society is not acceptable and could leave an effect on this woman for what could potentially be her whole life – you must seek help.”