Content warning: This post contains an account of sexual assault which may be triggering for some readers.
An academic adviser at James Cook University’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Centre in Queensland has been convicted of raping an indigenous student.
Douglas Steele, 33, was sentenced to a two-year suspended jail term on Monday, after pleading guilty to digitally raping a 20-year-old student, the Townsville Bulletin reports.
The Bulletin reported Steele was not employed by the university at the time of the offence, which took place on September 27, 2015, but according to news.com.au, he was employed in the University’s College of Healthcare Sciences, and after the offence, was subsequently promoted to the position as academic adviser to indigenous students.
James Cook University told Mamamia that while some members of staff were aware of the case, it was not reported higher up the chain of management.
“Disturbingly, Senior Management of the University was not made aware that Mr Steele had later pleaded guilty to the charge of sexual assault, despite it now having become apparent that some university employees had been made aware of this development,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“Senior Management was only made aware of the Court’s finding of guilty in respect of the charge of rape on Tuesday 17 January 2017.”
Townsville District Court was told that Steele knew his victim through university and on the night of the rape, she and a male friend has been drinking and watching TV at his house.
When the young woman passed out, her male friend texted Steele for help, who then called an ambulance, the court heard.
While the friend waited outside, Steele then digitally raped the student who was semi-conscious and later reported the incident.