German farm worker jailed for four years before likely deportation over sex assault on WA farm
A German farm worker who sexually assaulted a university student on a property in Western Australia is likely to be deported after serving a four-year prison sentence, the District Court has been told.
Key points: German Frank Matthias Kurt Berger pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual penetration without consent and one count of unlawful and indecent assault. The 43-year-old assaulted a 19-year-old university student on a farm near Ravensthorpe in the south of the state. The court heard he is likely to be deported after serving a four-year prison sentence
Frank Matthias Kurt Berger faced court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual penetration without consent and one count of unlawful and indecent assault.
The Perth District Court heard that Berger worked on a sheep farm in Munglinup, between Raventhorpe and Esperance, after arriving from Germany.
Berger arrived at the farm through a program called HelpX — a platform that lists farms where backpackers can work in exchange for lodging and food.
The farm also hosted agricultural students from Murdoch University.
Court said man took advantage of student
Berger had been on the farm for 18 months when he sexually assaulted the 19-year-old woman.
That evening the victim, another man and Berger drank alcohol which the court heard was supplied by Berger.
The two men had a cigarette and returned inside to find the victim in vomit.
Berger told the other man “not to worry” and said he would take care of her.
Berger, who was 43 at the time, took the woman into the shower where he removed her clothes and his own.
He held her up as he squeezed her breasts and sexually penetrated her without consent.
She tried to get away but then he pulled her back, causing her to fall, hit her head and become unconscious.
He then continued to touch her and asked if she was “a virgin”.
The victim told him to get off and asked for her clothes.
Berger also lay on top of her and she said “no” when he asked to have sex with her.
Victim injured during assault
She was left with a large bump on her head, bruising and a “hickey”.
Berger’s lawyer accepted all the facts and said he was a “lost soul” because his girlfriend had returned to Germany.
The court heard he had no previous convictions and was remorseful.
In court, Berger remained silent.
Berger pleaded guilty on Monday despite numerous court appearances.
The case originally went to trial as he told the police nothing happened and pleaded not guilty.
Judge Alan Troy acknowledged that his late guilty plea saved the victim from having to testify and possibly be cross-examined, but said the state would have already spent that time preparing its case against him.
Due to the victim vomiting profusely, the Judge assumed that the victim would not be able to give consent.
The victim’s impact statement emphasized that she felt “shame and sadness” after the assault.
The assault has an impact on her ability to complete her degree.
Berger was sentenced to a total of four years in prison, backdated to January 6, 2022.
He will be eligible for parole in two years.
Judge Troy said he would “likely be deported at that time” and that he should be removed from the country as soon as possible.
The victim has a lifetime violence order against Berger.
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