Kenneth Ralph Ernst (right) leaves Maroochydore Court House.
Kenneth Ralph Ernst (right) leaves Maroochydore Court House.

Former deputy principal 'groomed her’, court hears

A WOMAN had made false rape complaints about other people, including her father, before she formally accused Kenneth Ralph Ernst of sexually abusing her as a child.

Former Maroochydore High School deputy Mr Ernst, 60, is charged with 15 sexual offences allegedly committed when the girl was aged 13 to 16 in the 1990s.

The Buderim man denied all allegations on Wednesday when he took to the stand on day three of a Maroochydore District Court trial.

"I have not had sexual contact with (the complainant)," Mr Ernst said.

In closing, defence barrister Peter Mylne reminded the jury of the complainant's evidence.

He said in the 1990s, she had made false claims her father had raped her and sexually abused one of her friends; that her ex-partner raped her in her sleep; and that an unnamed person had raped her while she was on her way home from a bar at university.

Crown prosecutor Rebecca Marks did not dispute this.

Mr Mylne said this evidence was "plainly relevant" to the allegations against Mr Ernst, and the complainant was someone with a "troubled background".

"She is so manifestly unreliable, you couldn't believe or accept anything (she) said of a critical nature in this case, let alone accept it to the standard that you must be satisfied with … that is beyond a reasonable doubt," Mr Mylne said.

Ms Marks said the false allegations were made in the context of the complainant's "mental health issues", and at a time she was "grasping between dreams and reality" and struggling with "significant trauma".

Ms Marks said the complainant gave evidence her memories of Mr Ernst's alleged abuse were very clear, and she could "distinguish dreams and reality".

Ms Marks said the complainant had reported Mr Ernst's alleged sexual interest from as young as 12, when she told a Year 8 school friend that "Ken" had kissed her.

Ms Marks asked jurors to view the complainant as honest and reliable, and reminded them she had told friends, her mother, ex-partner and psychologist of the alleged sexual interactions before she made a police complaint in 2017.

Ms Marks said the complainant could not have consented to any sexual interactions when she was a child, and never consented once she turned 16.

"(Mr Ernst) preyed on her as a young child when she was under 16," Ms Marks said.

"By the time she was 16 he had already been grooming her."

Judge Tony Moynihan will continue his closing address to jurors on Thursday, before they retire to consider their verdict on each individual charge.

Mr Ernst is charged with three counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16, nine of indecent assault, two of indecent assault with aggravating circumstances and attempted rape.