Rugby player jailed for three violent sex attacks
A RUGBY player has been jailed for at least four-and-a-half years for violent sex attacks on three women within 12 hours on the northern beaches.
Fijian Pio Kautoga, who was sponsored to stay in Australia by the Manly Marlins, today hugged his tearful family and was led away in handcuffs from Downing Centre District Court after a judge found he had shown no remorse and provided no explanation for why he attacked the "vulnerable" women in 2013.
In the first incident, the 28-year-old assaulted a friend's girlfriend as she slept in her Manly home.
The court heard Kautoga had gone out to a Manly nightclub before staying at his mate's house in the early hours of the morning.
His friend was sleeping in bed with his girlfriend when she woke up to find that Kautoga was digitally penetrating her.
At 6am that morning Kautoga grabbed a 50-year-old woman who was jogging on the beach at North Steyne.
After putting his hand over her mouth he dragged the woman to the ground before grabbing her vagina.
She was only able to get away by grabbing his testicles and squeezing and twisting them in self-defence before Kautoga fled.
"The victim was alone on a deserted beach in semi-darkness and was attacked by a stranger who was essentially a first-grade rugby union player who (had a) substantially stronger physique than hers," Acting Judge Williams said while handing down his sentence.
Kautoga's DNA was recovered from the second victim's clothes and he was captured on CCTV running from the area on the beach where the assault occurred.
Just 20 minutes later Kautoga, dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, attacked another woman near Manly Oval.
Kautoga indecently assaulted the 25-year-old on Sydney Rd, grabbing her around her waist and putting a hand up her skirt, before she screamed for help and pushed him off.
He walked away up Sydney Rd.
He then returned to his friend's house where he put his hand on the first victim's thigh when her boyfriend was not in the room, and moved it up towards her crotch area.
In 2013 Kautoga, of Fiji, was sponsored by the Marlins to play rugby on a 12-month visa.
The 28-year-old was a regular in the Marlins' third-grade squad and played Rugby Sevens for the club at the time he carried out the assaults on March 10, 2013.
Kautoga was found guilty earlier this year of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and two counts of assault with acts of indecency
Acting Judge Williams said that not only were the offences serious, but they were committed in circumstances which took advantage of "vulnerable victims".
"I cannot imagine a more frightening thing to happen to anyone, to be alone and to grabbed by a stranger, a very strong man, and be sexually molested when one is just going about one's daily life.
"Behaviour such as this needs to be discouraged."
He said the first victim was attacked in what was effectively her temporary home.
Acting Judge Williams said: "There has been no expression of remorse or attempted explanation of why he committed these offences".
The court heard that the first victim had quit her studies and several promising jobs since she was assaulted.
She said what happened had "fundamentally changed who I am as a person".
The second woman on the beach was a cancer survivor and was doing her best to keep fit and healthy by taking a sunrise walk along the beach.
She now felt guilty as she had joined a women's only gym rather than exercising outside and only took Ubers and taxis rather than public transport - despite these things being luxuries she couldn't afford.
"I felt like I was tackled like a footballer into the sand," she said in her victim impact statement.
"My small frame was no match for his size. I was terrified I would die and/or get raped."
The court heard that Kautoga spent one year and five months in immigration detention when his visa was revoked following the charges.
Acting Judge Williams backdated Kautoga's sentence to include his time spent in detention, sentencing him to a head sentence of six years with a non-parole period of four-and-a-half years.
He will be eligible for parole on 17 October, 2021.