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A historic rape trial begins in Bendigo 49 years after the alleged attack.

A New South Wales man is standing trial for the alleged rape of a then 16-year-old girl in Rochester in 1967 after the child conceived as a result of the alleged assault told his birth mother to report the matter to police.

The accused, 69-year-old, John Thomas O’Connell from Moama, New South Wales, has only recently been charged after the son conceived through the alleged rape tracked down his birth mother and convinced her to go to the police, according to the Bendigo Advertiser.

The son was given up for adoption following the alleged rape and had no contact with his birth mother until he contacted her in 2000, according to online reports.

When the pair reunited it’s reported that the mother told her birth son the story of his conception.

Opening remarks in the historical rape trial were heard in Bendigo County Court yesterday.

The Bendigo Advertiser reported the court heard the woman gave birth to her son as a result of the one-time encounter with the accused.

According to reports the alleged victim wasn’t aware she was pregnant until five months later when she underwent a medical assessment while living in a convent.

Initially she denied having sexual intercourse and when nuns took her to police their response was reportedly “negative” and the matter was taken no further.

Defence counsel Michael Pena-Rees said O’Connell’s paternity was not in dispute.

“It is a simple matter of consent,” he reportedly told the jury.

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  • I hope truth comes out but if it’s a matter of consent, I’m pretty sure abd hope the women would remember saying yes and if she says she didn’t then it is definetly tape and hope accused pays for what his done.

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  • wow! i think it is sad that she had lived with that for all this time. poor lady. poor son.

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  • That poor woman. Good on the son for standing up for her. Difficult to have to relieve it after all this time

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  • It is so hard to go through this at any time.

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  • In NSW (and Australia for that matter) there is no statute of limitations for indictable or serious offences. It is not uncommon for serious sexual offences to be dealt with many years or even decades after the original incident occurred. The difficulty arises in being able to gather sufficient evidence after long periods of time.

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  • An interesting case to watch and its potential for other cases.

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  • There’s usually a statute of limitations on rape/assault cases. I’m surprised this matter is being tried after so many years. In the USA most women that were raped/sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby were not able to take him to court because they waited too long before coming forward.

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  • That’s amazing that it’s able to be dealt with so long after the event. Something that would’ve affected her life since, and her son’s who didn’t know his real mother. I’m from the area so interested to see if it’s in the papers and what happens.

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  • Good on the son for supporting his mother.

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  • Would like to know how this trial goes. Its going to be difficult for the son and mother to go through. Pity she didn’t have help when this crime first happened.

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  • That poor lady having to live with that all her life. I hope justice is served!

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  • Poor woman. It must have been horrible for her to live with this terrible experience. I’m so sorry there was no one she could trust 49 years ago. I hope this process will bring her closure.


    • And justice!



      • Unfortunately this case may be hard to prove as the girl didn’t go to hospital after it happened. It is going to be a difficult case with a lot of “he said”, “she said”. I wonder if the man has actually met his son. The media may not be allowed in court and it may not be published interstate immediately either.

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  • Such an interesting sounding case – I hope the perpetrator gets what he deserves.

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  • Wow I hope they get the outcome they deserve on this.. I hope they can start to heal and heal together as mother and son they deserve to know each other. I wish them both all the best from here. Xx

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