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September 18, 2009

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Australian raped his daughter for decades

AN Australian man has been arrested on charges of raping his daughter for 30 years and fathering four children with her, media reports said yesterday.

Senior officials described the allegations as shocking but would not confirm the details because the case was before the courts. Police said they were not giving any details about the case because of a court suppression order.

The Herald Sun newspaper and the Australian Broadcasting Corp said the man was accused of raping his daughter since the 1970s when she was 11 years old, threatening her with violence against her mother. He was arrested in February after the woman approached police.

DNA tests

The man has denied raping his daughter, the reports said. Prosecutors will say DNA tests show he is the father of his daughter's children.

The case drew immediate comparisons with that of Josef Fritzl, an Austrian man who was convicted in March of holding his daughter captive for 24 years, repeatedly raping her and fathering seven children with her.

John Brumby, premier of Victoria state where the alleged abuse occurred, said he was aware that the allegations spanned three decades, but that he would not comment further because he did not want to prejudice the trial.

"Any crime of this type is one that is shocking and is personally repulsive to me and other Victorians," Brumby said. "It's a terrible case. It brings to all of us the worst possible thoughts about families and what might have occurred in cases like this."

The ABC said the suspect, in his 60s, will face five charges of rape, five of incest, two of indecent assault and one of common assault when he appears in court in November.

The wife of the accused, also the victim's mother, denied any knowledge of the abuse, the Herald Sun said, adding neighbors and child welfare authorities failed to act on suspicions about the man.

"We lived in a big house, so I wouldn't have known," she said. "He had a very sharp tongue. He was a drinker."

All four children were born with health problems and one of them has reportedly died.

The daughter first told police about the alleged abuse in 2005, but no charges were filed because she said she feared for her safety and would not cooperate with police, the report said.


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