A 15-year-old has been charged with attempted rape and other sexual offences involving a series of Katherine break-ins spanning the last two years, which the NT Police executive and media team appear not to have publicly reported when the first incident occurred in November 2019.
The male teen was arrested and charged on Friday for his alleged involvement in three separate unlawful entries in November and December 2019 at the same Katherine residence, that saw a resident “indecently assaulted” during one of the break-ins.
It was unclear why the teen has only been arrested and charged now and why the police media team did not notify the public of the nature of the sexual assault at the time of the 2019 break-ins.
Police said the teen has also been charged for allegedly being involved in a further two break-ins at a different Katherine address this month.
“One of these unlawful entries has also allegedly resulted in an indecent assault,” said police media manager Rob Cross in a statement.
He did not immediately respond to the NT Independent’s questions about why the police appear to have not publicly reported the previous alleged sexual assault when it occurred.
A review of the NT Police’s news releases shows no mention of an attempted rape or other sexual assault being publicly reported in Katherine in either November or December 2019, nor of any specific residential break-ins having occurred.
However, on November 27, 2019, police issued a statement about a spate of residential and commercial break-ins in the community – focused on the commercial break-ins – and warning residents to take “precautions” but made no mention of the alleged attempted rape or any other sexual assault having occurred during a residential break-in that month.
On Friday, the teen was charged with attempted rape, indecent aggravated assault, gross indecency and property crimes, including four counts of unlawful entry, police said.
Mr Cross did not say if police suspected him of committing any other alleged sexual assaults in Katherine over the two year period.
He was remanded to face court on August 20.
The police brass and media unit came under intense criticism for failing to report serious sexual offences – including against children – to the public earlier this year that were in the public interest and a matter of public safety in some instances.