Last week a former Australian MP and mayor was convicted of having sex with a 12-year-old and taking pornographic pictures of her, however he won't be serving any jail time. Terry Martin says medication he was taking for Parkinson's disease made him hypersexual and he believed the girl was actually an adult. Now a judge has agreed that Martin holds no responsibility for his behavior, especially because the victim looked and acted like an 18-year-old sexpot.
According to Justice David Porter's lengthy ruling, Martin, who is now 54, started taking a dopamine agonist to treat Parkinson's disease about five years ago, and after his dosage was increased in 2007 he started experiencing hyperactive sexual desires. He started looking at porn online, including images of children, while he had no interest in it previously (or so he says). Eventually, he started visiting sex workers and in September 2009, he answered an ad that read, "New in town, Angela 18 years old."
"Angela" was actually a 12-year-old girl being pimped out by her mother and her friend, who are now in jail. As with the girl's other 100 or so clients, Martin first met her in a darkened apartment. He performed oral sex on her then asked if she would come to his house for a second meeting. She agreed, and during their next meeting at Martin's home, he took 126 photographs of her while she performed oral sex on him. They also took a bath and had a conversation about, "a number of things, including her real name, why she was involved in prostitution (in which there were grains of truth), and more general subjects."
The Mercury reports that Martin was found guilty of underage sex and producing child explotiation material. The jury also concluded that he should have known the girl was underage, but Justice Porter said the medication excused his behavior and gave him a 10-month suspended sentence. In his explanation, Porter said that he went easy on Martin for a number of reasons, including that he had no idea the girl wasn't 18, and was extremely distraught when he learned he abused a child. He also said most of the photographs were, "at the lower end of the scale of seriousness of content," Martin wasn't the girl's "initial corrupter," and though he should have known the girl was under 17, "his sexual inhibitions were markedly lessened by the medication, and his capacity to make proper judgments adversely affected."
Plus, it's important to note that this was one sexy and mature 12-year-old! Porter writes:
The evidence shows that reasonable grounds existed for thinking that the complainant was about 15, possibly 16 years old. Both investigating police officers initially mistook the complainant for her 15 year old sister, and even when properly identified, and during the course of the investigation, one officer's assessment of her age was 15 to 16. A police officer involved in youth affairs and with contact with the complainant from August 2008, put the complainant's age at somewhere between 13 and 15, and a child protection worker with contact with the complainant, also from August 2008, put her age at 15. All persons gave evidence that after speaking with the complainant for some time, it becomes evident that her emotional maturity is in accordance with her chronological age, which of course was known to them, their dealings with the complainant were not in the context of her work as a prostitute.
There is evidence that dopamine agonists can cause obsessive behaviors, including hypersexuality and compulsive gambling. The drug may explain why Martin was more interested in sex and started seeing sex workers, however it didn't prevent him from recognizing during his talk with the girl that she was actually a child. Justice Porter concludes that Martin's newfound hypersexuality meant his "capacity for full moral reasoning and judgment [was] impaired" — so obviously he should receive absolutely no punishment for sexually assaulting a child.
Martin Sentencing Comments [The Mercury]
Some Parkinson's Medications Make Patients 'Hypersexual' [Science 2.0]
Terry Martin Walks Free [The Mercury]
Image via karamysh/Shutterstock.