Man Groomed Daughter’s Best Friend with Drugs, Gifts

Taking in a mother and her teenage daughter who had nowhere else to go seemed like a selfless act of generosity.

But the real intentions of the 35-year-old WA man, who had a secret infatuation with the girl — aged just 14 and 15 — were far more sinister.

When they moved in, he groomed the victim — his daughter’s best friend — offering her gifts, drugs and affection until she believed it was appropriate to have a sexual relationship with him.

The married father, who cannot be named, was on Friday jailed for seven years over the repeated abuse. District Court Judge Ronald Birmingham described it as a damaging breach of trust.

His crimes spanned eight months between August 2014 and December 2015, with the abuse escalating from indecent touching and exchanging explicit images over social media to penetrative sex.

Judge Birmingham said the man, who was convicted of several child sex offences after a trial in September, viewed his victim as a “sex object” and exposed her to “numerous sexual ideas and concepts”.

That included sending her photographs of sex toys and inviting her to have a threesome with a transsexual person.

He said the girl had instigated some of the sexual interactions, but found she had been manipulated by a man she saw as a father figure whom she believed she loved.

“You abused her relationship and growing affection for you with conduct that was clearly wholly inappropriate in any circumstance,” he said.

Judge Birmingham said the girl now had panic attacks and waves of depression, with her mother feeling as though she had failed as a parent.

“You made them feel part of your family and it was just part of manipulating (the victim),” he said. “You persuaded her that you loved her. You gave her alcohol, cannabis and treated her as an adult.

“All of those things assisted in her confidence in her own maturity, to the point where she believed that there was an appropriateness to having a sexual relationship … with you, being many years her senior.”

In a victim impact statement, the girl said her trust in adults had been tarnished.

“He stole my innocence and saw I was a vulnerable target,” she said. “I was a naive girl who, even though I consented to the sexual abuse, I was not old enough to do so and he knew that.”

The man will serve five years before he is eligible for parole.