A karate teacher has been jailed for repulsive sex acts with a young female student who shared powerful words about her trauma with a court.
A karate teacher has been jailed for sexually exploiting a girl in the early 2000s.
Lachlan Howard, 47, was sentenced to eight years and six months prison with five years and six months non-parole in the County Court of Victoria on Thursday.
A jury found the father of two guilty of course of conduct charges of two counts of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and two counts of indecent act with a child under 16 between 2001 and 2004.
He maintains his innocence but a jury found him guilty of preying on the girl when he was between 27 and 30 in the regional Victorian town of Ballarat.
Howard asked the girl what she did with boys and if she’d ever been “fingered”, the victim told the jury.
He also “dared” her to perform escalating sexual acts.
She had a crush on him and he used “psychological manipulation” to groom her, Judge Gucciardo said.
“Despite her sense that this was a romantic and exciting involvement, the responsibility for this abhorrent and repulsive conduct rests entirely on you,” he said.
“It entails acts which violated her physical integrity; which distorted and exploited her feelings towards you … which violated and corrupted her innocence.”
Howard told the victim he’d “have to kill her” if she told anyone and said she owed him because he drove her home from class.
Howard’s lawyer claimed the child had sought out the sexual activity, which Judge Gucciardo said was “clearly not the case”.
The victim told the court through a victim impact statement that she was angered by Howard’s lack of remorse.
She said she was retraumatised by “arduous and forceful” cross-examination from his lawyer, who attempted to discredit her during the trial.
“Most overwhelmingly I feel grief for the life I could have had, were I not abused,” she said.
“The abuse you inflicted upon me has created a black hole which consumes my time, energy, intellect and spirit.
“I will never get that time back.”
Howard is a father of two children aged 12 and 13 and his ex-wife gave evidence on his behalf at trial.
He has been the farm manager for a secondary college and came into contact with students.
He has also worked as a drover, truck driver and jackaroo.
Howard doesn’t drink, smoke or do drugs, has a good relationship with his family and does not have any apparent psychological or cognitive disorders.