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Craig Geoffrey Maria, now 25, of Jubilee Highway, Mount Gambier, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court this week to sexual penetration of a child aged 16 or 17 years under his care, supervision or authority. Maria claimed he did not know he was breaking the law having a relationship with a young woman under his care or supervision. He said he had read a psychological report on Maria and accepted he was of good character but a victim-impact statement put a different flavour on the relationship.
The magistrate said Maria had pleaded guilty to the offence, which saved the victim the embarrassment of giving evidence, but it was clearly a serious offence and a breach of trust.
Mr Lesser said Maria was unlikely to offend again in a similar manner. Police said the complainant started working at the south-west store when she was almost 15, but over time gained a promotion and by last year she became close friends with Maria who was a manager. Maria and the woman started a relationship in May last year when she was 17 years old, but she ended it and her mother then contacted police.
He moved to the store as a supervisor and was a manager in and but he had to leave after starting a relationship with the young woman who was then three months off being Home News Latest News.
Magistrate John Lesser said ignorance was no excuse. Maria was then