Cop jailed for child sex offences
A POLICE liaison officer who developed an “unhealthy sexual obsession” with a 14-year-old girl was yesterday sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended after four months.
Vincent Michael Terare, 41, pleaded guilty to seven charges of indecent treatment of a child in the Maryborough District Court.
The court heard he was stationed at the Maryborough Police Station in September last year when he started to take an interest in the young girl.
He was also recently separated from his wife of 24 years and was feeling “unstable” and “depressed”.
“He was at the lowest point of his life,” defence barrister Lars Falcongreen said.
Crown prosecutor Ron Swanwick said Terare was under “limited” supervision as a police liaison officer, not a sworn police officer role, and he had access to a police vehicle.
On three occasions he took the young girl, with the permission of her mother, on patrol in his car.
Terare asked if she could help him move some boxes inside a nearby school. She went with the accused into the schoolgrounds.
“Terare pulled the complainant into a shed and started kissing her,” Mr Swanwick said.
Mr Swanwick said he repeatedly told her he wanted to have sex.
When she tried to walk away, Terare pulled her back.
Mr Swanwick said Terare also told the victim: “You can’t tell anyone. They won’t believe you because I’m a cop”.
After refusing his advances, Terare took the girl home. A week later, he invited her to go out on patrol with him again – and she reluctantly agreed.
Mr Swanwick said Terare drove 40 minutes out of town and expressed to the girl that he wanted to have sex with her.
Before dropping her home, he stopped the car, kissed her and touched her inappropriately.
Terare constantly sent text messages and the victim told police she felt intimidated and uncomfortable.
Mr Swanwick said Terare’s actions had caused a “loss of confidence” in the Maryborough police force and frontline officers were subject to ridicule.
“It was a sexual obsession ... an unhealthy sexual interest.”
Mr Falcongreen said Terare was remorseful and had suffered considerably since being charged and stood down.
“[Before] he was a strong and responsible presence in the community. He suffered a denunciation from the community.”
Judge Hugh Botting said he had to impose a sentence that “will express the community’s condemnation of what you’ve done”.