June 28, 2011 3:26:05 pm
A 40-year-old Indian man pleaded guilty today on charges of indecently assaulting three minor Australian girls he had met through religious groups.
A Victorian court heard that Sivakumar Chidambaram a computer programmer hailing from south India pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault on a child under 16 and one count of possessing child pornography.
Chidambaram’s lawyer,David Drake,told the court that the Indian was a devout Hindu and a Hare Krishna and much “like a small frightened bird”.
The court was told that Chidambaram,who had met the girls aged five,seven and 10 through Christian and Hindu religious groups,had “inappropriately” touched them.
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Local media here reported that Chidambaram hailing from south India assaulted two sisters in October last year while at lunch with their father at a pastor’s home in Melbourne’s west,and a third girl on a bus while her mother waited to meet them at a Melbourne shopping centre.
However,his lawyer told the court that he was devout and was more like a child.
“He spends some three hours a day in prayer which… involves repeating the mantra ‘Hare Krishna,Hare Krishna,Hare Hare,” Drake said.
“He says that thousands of times per day and it’s from that he derives inner peace”.
Chidambaram,who came to Australia in 1995 for work,had abused the 10-year-old and seven-year-old sisters after meeting them and their father through a small Christian religious group.
Justice Damian Murphy ordered Chidambaram,who has been in custody at the Melbourne Remand Centre since October last year,to be assessed for a pre-sentence clinical report and adjourned the plea hearing until July 28.
Chidambaram had met the family a couple of times before they were all invited to lunch at the pastor’s home in in October last year,the court was told.
While the girls’ father was inside,they played in the garage,where Chidambaram asked each of them in turn to sit on his lap to play the piano and then allegedly touched them inappropriately.
The girls reported it to their mother the next day and police were notified.
Less than a week later,Chidambaram was on a bus when he met a woman he was friends with through a Hindu temple.
The woman was travelling with her two young daughters when Chidambaram offered to look after the five-year-old girl so that the mother could take her eight-year-old daughter shopping.
After agreeing to meet at a specified time,Chidambaram instead took the five-year-old girl to his house,inappropriately touching her during the trip.
Police found the girl more than three hours later in Chidambaram’s bed,while he was taking a shower.
Crown prosecutor Helen Fatouros said 54 pieces of child pornography were later found on Chidambaram’s computer,showing there could be “a clear sexual interest in children” and a risk of re-offending.
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