Groomer who thought of victim 'like a daughter' jailed

A man who groomed a vulnerable teen, supplied her with ice and repeatedly sexually abused her could leave jail in just over a year.

Harley Jake Wills, 33, was jailed four-and-a-half years with a non-parole period of two years and four months on Thursday after pleading guilty to 11 charges.

With time spent in custody before sentencing, Wills will be eligible for parole in January 2025.

The Sydney man met the vulnerable 13-year-old girl, who was living in out-of-home care, through a friend in early 2020.

The teen began spending evenings at his house, which Wills shared with his partner, and was given methylamphetamine multiple times before he initiated sexual intercourse including penetration and sexual touching. 

Wills told police he thought of the victim as "his daughter or sister" after his arrest in 2020 at a motel he booked to avoid being seen with her, which Judge Tanya Smith said showed the level of planning involved in his offending. 

Snapchat videos posted by a friend of the victim showed Wills touching her in a sexual manner.

She told a GP she had become pregnant and suffered a subsequent miscarriage, but the court could not confirm that beyond reasonable doubt. 

Prosecutors submitted the fear she suffered from such an event would be distressing given her age and circumstances which the judge accepted. 

The 10 sexual charges were accompanied by a "rolled-up" drug charge that encompassed multiple incidents where Wills supplied the teenager with an addictive drug “before she was old enough to make any rational choices about such matters”, the judge said in the District Court at Campbelltown. 

A mild intellectual development disorder made the offender “less able than most people to think through his decision-making”.

Wills was in the bottom two per cent of the population for intellectual functioning, a neuropsychologist said in an assessment referred to by Judge Smith. 

"There is a clear need for children who are vulnerable members of our community to be protected from such acts," Judge Smith said while acknowledging Wills appeared genuinely remorseful. 

The judge noted the victim was vulnerable not only because of her age, but also her circumstances.  

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028

Lifeline 13 11 14

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