A police officer accused of raping a teenager exploited his position as a father figure to control his alleged victim, a Northern Territory court has been told.
Patrick Carson, aged 37 at the time of the alleged crime, has pleaded not guilty in the supreme court to raping the woman, then 19, twice in Darwin during 2020.
The prosecutor Marty Aust told the jury that evidence would show the married policeman took advantage of a socially immature young woman who had only recently arrived in the city.
“Under the guise of being a supportive and caring father figure he allowed a situation to evolve in which she trusted him,” he said during his opening address.
Aust said an intense relationship developed and the woman “felt loved and important and special, to the extent that he was able to control aspects of her life and ultimately take advantage of her in a sexual manner”.
The court heard the pair met in February at an exercise group and started training together two to three times a week.
As their relationship developed the duo started communicating via an encrypted messaging platform.
“Over a period of time the context of messages sent … become less about training and more about friendship and the development of the relationship, off-topic flirtatious perhaps,” Aust said.
It allegedly led to the pair being alone at the home Carson shared with his wife and children in May.
The woman accused the officer of raping her after the duo had massaged each other on his patio.
“After, he kissed her on the back and asked is that OK … She did not know what to do,” Aust said.
“She thought about getting up and leaving but she felt unable to because she knew the accused had locked gates.”
The second alleged attack happened about six weeks later on a couch at a mutual friend’s home.
Aust said it was alleged Carson forcefully touched the woman and said “he regretted not finishing her off last time”.
“She said what are you doing and the accused told her to be quiet and he pushed and rubbed roughly,” he said.
“She became upset and said words to the effect of, ‘please stop, I don’t want to do this’ and he said he didn’t care and she became fearful.”
Aust said the woman tried to escape but Carson told her to “be a good girl and stay still”.
“She told him he was old enough to be her father and pleaded with him,” he said.
“He ignored her and became more oppressive.”
A call from Carson’s wife halted the alleged assault.
The court heard the woman did not immediately report the attacks because the man was a police officer.
“She was distressed by these sexual assaults but accepted his apologies,” Aust said.
Carson’s lawyer, Mary Chalmers, told the jury there was no dispute the pair massaged each other but there was no sexual intercourse and the allegations were “gross exaggerations” and a “distortion of the truth”.
“There are key issues relating to credibility and reliability,” she said.
The trial continues. The court will be closed to hear evidence from the woman.
In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. International helplines can be found via www.befrienders.org.