Mum left 'distraught'
A WOMAN who allowed her seven-year-old son to hold her breast under her shirt in front of other people has been put on probation, after a judge noted the "exceptional" circumstances in the case.
Bundaberg District Court was told the incident happened when the mum arrived at her son's day care home to pick him up for the afternoon on December 13, 2008.
As she sat and talked to other parents, the boy came over and sat on her lap, sliding his hand inside her blouse and bra and holding her breast for several minutes.
"You did not take any steps to discourage him from doing that," Judge Douglas McGill told the woman as she stood in the dock.
"It appears you didn't regard it as being indecent at the time, but ... you (now) accept it was conduct that was inappropriate by community standards."
The mum, who cannot be identified to protect the identity of her son, originally faced court last week for a pre-trial hearing, but later pleaded guilty to one charge of indecently treating the boy, now 10.
Defence barrister Harry Fong said in October 2009, the Department of Community Services (DOCS) removed the boy from his mother, something that left the woman "distraught" and had also caused great distress to the boy.
The court was told the woman had been undergoing psychological counselling since and had made great progress, having struggled with the concept of "boundaries" because of her own history of being abused as a child.
Mr Fong said despite the court case, there was now a genuine effort on the part of DOCS to reunite mother and son, something that was likely to happen within the next two to four weeks.
"I'm sure that all things will return to normal," he said,
"The son has an excellent relationship with my client and there is great hope for the future."
In recommending a sentence for the woman, prosecutor Greg Cummings said a term of probation would be appropriate.
"In my submission, it's not a case of sexual predation ... rather it's a case of a relationship that became maladjusted," he said.
Judge McGill, who said the offence was "quite unlike any other of this nature that I've ever come across", sentenced the woman to 18 months probation, with the condition she must consent to further counselling or treatment if DOCS considers it necessary.
The judge - noting the boy had been done more damage by the separation from his mother than the offence itself - recorded no conviction, meaning the mum will not go on the sex offender register.