An Alice Springs woman woke in her bed to find a teenager with his fingers in her anus last month during a break-in and robbery, but Northern Territory Police did not make the assault public, a move which has upset its own members, multiple police sources have told the NT Independent.
The attack, which happened during a Gillen break-in on February 22, could fall into the category of sexual intercourse without consent.
The NT Independent understands the alleged offender was a 15-year-old boy who was arrested and charged, but it remains unclear whether he is currently in jail or wandering the Alice Springs community.
NT Police media manager Rob Cross issued a media release on February 22, stating residents woke to find offenders in their Gillen house about 2am, causing the group to run away.
The release said police found a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old in the area allegedly in possession of items stolen from the house.
At the time, Mr Cross said police were looking for dash cam footage of surrounding streets to try and find the other offenders. They did not specify how many alleged offenders they thought were involved.
He did not answer questions from the NT Independent about the incident including what the 15-year-old youth had been charged with, or whether he had been bailed.
Nor did he answer why the assault was not made public in the press release detailing the break-in and theft.
One source said the offence was taken “very seriously” by police despite it not being made public.
The information follows this week’s revelation that police failed to inform the public that a three-year-old boy was allegedly raped while playing in his front yard in Karama.
Mr Cross issued a statement about the offence a day after the NT Independent reported it and four days after it happened. The statement only referred to it as a “serious assault”, not a sexual assault.
The NT Independent understands the boy was playing in his family’s fenced-in yard when a man approached the toddler and drew him close to the fence before the man allegedly sexually assaulted the child.
The fact the media unit also did not make the Alice Springs incident public has upset members of the police force.
“That poor woman’s life has completely changed, and it’s kept completely hidden,” one source said of the Alice Springs sexual assault.
Another said: “I have no idea why there wasn’t a media release for it. There usually is for incidents like that”.