Former Australian boxing champion Marc Bargero is fighting to avoid being sent to jail after being found guilty of sexually assaulting an intoxicated teenage girl while she slept.
Bargero fought allegations that he performed an oral sex act on the 15-year-old girl after putting her to bed, but was found guilty after facing a trial by judge alone earlier this year.
Bargero confessed to “sniffing” the girl’s crotch in an attempt to relive his first sexual experience, but denied licking the girl’s vagina.
The court was told during his trial that Bargero was visiting a woman at her home on Sydney’s northern beaches when the teenager arrived with a group of other young people.
When the girl passed out after drinking alcohol, Bargero took her upstairs and put her on a bed.
The court previously heard that he came back soon after, moved the girl to the edge of the bed, pulled down her pants, got on her knees, kissed her belly and licked her vagina.
The girl woke up and ran downstairs crying and saying, “I just woke up and he was eating me.”
During a police interview, Bargero told officers he wanted to relive his first sexual experience, where he would get under a table and “sniff” an older woman.
“I had my head there, but I was just sniffing it,” Bargero told police, who the court has heard before.
“I got carried away at the moment, I got a little too drunk.”
He said he did not touch the girl’s vagina.
However, Judge Tim Gartelmann accepted the girl’s testimony and noted that due to his level of intoxication, Bargero could not remember everything he did that night.
Bargero was found guilty of sexual intercourse without consent and intentional sexual touching of the girl.
At a sentencing hearing on Friday afternoon, his lawyer Stephen Russell said he showed considerable contrition, despite pleading not guilty and fighting the allegations.
Mr Russell said Bargero had suffered significant “public shame and humiliation” through social media and the media.
The court heard that during his interrogation with the police, he asked the officers if he could meet with the complainant and her family to apologize for his actions.
He had also offered to plead guilty to less serious charges, but this was rejected by the prosecution.
Mr Russell said Bargero had “gone through the ringer” in life, suffered from mental illness and depression and had to be hospitalized and treated after his mother died.
He argued that Bargero could serve his sentence through a community correction order or an intensive correction order, pointing to his lack of criminal history.
“He’s a man who had no such background,” Mr Russell said.
“People say he’s respectful. The testimony given before your honor by a female witness indicated that he was very respectful towards women.
“This event must be seen as… a total aberration. And he knows it himself.
“He was offended by his own behavior that he believed he committed at that time, he underscored that so deeply in both interviews.”
However, the prosecution argued he should be jailed, with Judge Gartelmann due to decide his fate later this month.