Australian charged with raping daughter for 30 years

MELBOURNE Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:54am EDT

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - An Australian man has been charged with sexually abusing his daughter for 30 years and fathering her four children, local media said Thursday.

The man, whose identity has been withheld, started abusing his daughter when she was aged 11, said the Herald-Sun newspaper, adding the girl had four children from her father, all of whom were born with birth defects. One of them later died.

"Obviously any crime of this type is one that is shocking and that is personally repulsive to me and to other Victorians," said Victoria state Premier John Brumby.

"It's a terrible case. It brings to all of us I think the worst possible thoughts about families and what might occur there, and what may have occurred," Brumby told reporters.

Victorian police would not immediately comment on the details of the case, citing a court suppression order on the identity of the family, issued in August.

News reports said the man was charged in February after his alleged victim approached police in the town of Morwell, southeast of Melbourne. The man, now aged in his 60s, denied sexually assaulting his daughter, but was charged by police after DNA tests proved he fathered the children, said the Herald Sun newspaper.

The woman and her three surviving children were being held in a safe house with authorities, state radio said.

The man would face court in November on around 13 charges, including five of incest, five of rape, two of indecently assaulting a girl under the age of 16 and one of assault.

The father was initially charged with 83 offences at an arraignment hearing, but most of those were later withdrawn, a police spokeswoman told Reuters. The case shocked Australians and followed a state ombudsman's report Wednesday pointing to chaos in Victoria's child protection system.

The report, unrelated to the incest case, found social workers had placed three children under protection with convicted sex offenders, while the state's Department of Human Services also failed to carry out police checks on carers.

"It's almost like they need to be charged for negligence. Somebody has to be blamed for this. Really, it is just something that we should not as a community accept," Bernadette McMenamin, from the charity Child Wise, told state radio.

(Reporting by Rob Taylor; Editing by Michael Perry and Sanjeev Miglani)

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