Child sex offender's extremely low IQ brings lenience

A WOMAN who was 40 when she had sex with an eight-year-old child in her care has been given a lenient jail sentence because of her low IQ.

The woman at the centre of the unusual and distressing case was considered fit to face trial despite her IQ of 75 - which meant her intellectual capacity was in the bottom 5% of the population.

Initially, she was facing two charges of rape and eight of indecent dealing over a two-month period from June to August 2012, during which the child later testified the pair had had sex "three or four times".

The case was referred back to the Maroochydore District Court with a new charge of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child. She pleaded guilty to this charge.

Judge John Robertson accepted the woman's intellectual capacity meant she did not have the level of understanding to appreciate the seriousness of her actions.

He did not, however, accept her statement to police that the child made her do it.

"She claims the child said he would got to the cops if she didn't carry out his demands (for sex), then she is perplexed he did go to police anyway. She says 'he set me up'," Judge Robertson said.

The woman's barrister, Catherine Cuthbert, said the woman was "disarmingly frank" in her police interview, saying the "child asked for it".

But she explained this was a consequence of the woman's "lack of insight".

Ms Cuthbert successfully argued for exceptional circumstances, including a combination of the woman's low-level intellectual functioning, deteriorating mental condition and her own history of sexual abuse.

The court was told the woman had also had a sexual relationship with the father before looking after the son.

Judge Robertson sentenced her to a four-year jail term, to be suspended after 12 months.

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