Man, 76, in court on sex charges

A WITNESS in the trial of a Grafton man facing five charges of unlawful sexual activity with children told the District Court in Grafton how the accused groomed him and his friends with praise, money and gifts, while also sexually abusing him in his car and the victim's home.

The accused, Richard John Charles McDermott, 76, has been charged with four counts of aggravated indecent assault of a victim under authority and one of procuring a child for unlawful sexual activity.

He has been in custody since December 2011.

McDermott, dressed in grey slacks, dark coat and shirt and tie, sat impassively in the court, listening to proceedings and occasionally passing messages to the defence team.

The trial, which began on Tuesday without a jury and before Judge Mark Marien, resumed with the court watching a video of an interview between the boy and two investigating police officers.

During the interview he told how McDermott had won his confidence then began to abuse and him and his friends, touching their nipples, genitals and buttocks at various times.

After the video, the witness appeared by video link and answered the Crown's questions.

During cross examination of the boy the defence made much of his failure to tell his mother about the abuse he suffered.

It was also suggested he kept visiting McDermott because in reality no abuse occurred and he also exaggerated the number of times he was with him.

The boy denied all these suggestions, but was not sure how many times he saw the accused.

Because of an order suppressing anything which might identify the alleged victims, some details of the evidence presented cannot be revealed.

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