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(Ab)original sin: Gang-rapists of 10-year-old Australian Aboriginal girl go free, yet media coverage scarce


This gang-rape case may not be as bad as the recent Saudi one in the sense that the victim hasn’t been sentenced to 200 lashes and a prison term.

But nevertheless, as was originally the case with the Saudi miscarriage of justice, it deserves a great deal more international media attention than it is getting.

Judge condemned over Aborigine child rape case
Barbara McMahon in Sydney
The Guardian

A judge in Australia was facing calls to step down today after she failed to jail a group of nine males who admitted gang-raping a 10-year-old girl in an Aboriginal community, saying the young victim “probably agreed” to have sex with them.

Instead of jailing the three adults, aged 17 to 26, one of whom was a repeat sex offender, and giving custodial sentences to the six juveniles aged 14 to 16, Queensland District Court judge Sarah Bradley handed out suspended sentences and probation orders.

The lenient sentencing was greeted with outrage and disbelief across Australia, which has been wrestling with the problem of child sex abuse in indigenous communities after a report, Little Children Are Sacred, released earlier this year, described the problem as widespread and endemic.

The newly elected prime minister, Kevin Rudd, said he was “appalled and disgusted” by the details of the case while Queensland’s attorney-general, Kerry Shine, said he would appeal the judge’s decision. Indigenous leaders said it sent a terrible message to vulnerable girls and women living in fear in Australia’s their communities.

“If this was a white girl in white suburban Brisbane’ there’s no way the defendants would have walked out of court,” said child protection campaigner Hetty Johnston.

… Queensland’s premier, Anna Bligh, said that the girl, who had been returned to the community after being put in foster care, was once more back in foster care, receiving medical and other treatment, and is reportedly doing well.


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