Rodney Thomas Phipps

Posted: April 18, 2013 by Serendipity in NSW, Photo
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Phipps – Rodney Thomas - Photoa,22049,21799479-5001021,00.html

Stepfather made daughter a sex slave

By Warren Owens

May 27, 2007 12:00

A TEENAGE schoolgirl was forced to become a sex slave for four years by her violent, controlling stepfather, a Sydney court has heard.

The stepfather, whom a judge described as “manipulative”, exploited the girl’s fears for her mother’s and sisters’ safety to ensure she never reported his vile attacks on her.

The extraordinary story of the young woman’s five-year fight for justice emerged last week after Rodney Phipps, 39, was jailed in the District Court for 14 years on 16 separate counts of sexual assault.

The young victim persuaded the judge to remove a court suppression order so her boastful, self-obsessed tormentor could be publicly named.

Judge John Goldring said he wanted “to send a message to all stepfathers that this type of behaviour will be severely punished by the courts”.

He said Phipps, a former soldier and mobile phone salesman, was lucky his crimes had been committed before the maximum jail term for such offences had been doubled to 20 years.

The judge said Phipps’ crimes amounted to “the worst type of sexual servitude”.

He said Phipps had “manipulated his stepdaughter to become his sexual slave”.

In an exclusive interview, she told The Sunday Telegraph she wanted to show other young women caught in a similar sexual trap that they could escape from such nightmares.

“I wanted people to know about this sort of crime – so many people just don’t know about it,” Lois (not her real name) said.

“Only five or six per cent of these people get caught and sentenced. It’s also good to know the justice system does work sometimes”.

Shortly after Phipps moved into Lois’s life, as her mum’s de facto, his charming salesman’s veneer began to slip, exposing a cunning and violent side.

One day, when no one else was at home at their western Sydney address, Phipps came into her bedroom and sexually assaulted the then 12-year-old.

He threatened violence if she told anyone and she had already seen what he did to her mother, the court heard.

Later, he exploited different fears: he said he wouldn’t hurt her mum any more nor “do it to my sisters”, if she went along with his assaults.

According to Lois, Phipps controlled her life and all their lives. He forced her older sisters to leave home; he forced her to leave school.

According to the girl’s victim impact statement, Phipps later started to bribe her.

At times he allowed her requests as long as she agreed to have sex with him. Her mother was on shift work, her older sisters had moved out, the younger children were asleep. Later, she came to think that she was in a relationship with the man more than twice her age.

“Phipps always used to tell me: `No one will love you like I do. Boys your age will just use you’,” she said, in her victim impact statement.

Judge Goldring noted: “The offender was the only father figure in the victim’s life and she had no other father figure.

“This relationship evolved into an emotion-dependency relationship – the worst type of sexual servitude.”

He added: “Dependency of this type is not uncommon”.

Judge Goldring said it was not in dispute that Phipps and the then 16-year-old Lois later “intended to live together”, such was his control over her.

“The offender had manipulated his stepdaughter to become his sexual slave,” he said.

After Phipps was jailed briefly over other matters, he wrote 19 “telling” letters to Lois.

Her mother intercepted one and, horrified by its contents, urged Lois to speak to the police. She resisted at first but eventually agreed.

Then came a four-year wait, a delay while Phipps pursued a range of legal options, including seeking to be excused from being charged because he was not mentally fit to stand trial.

For Lois and other witnesses, it meant four years of not discussing the case with each other, for fear that these talks might “taint” their evidence in the trial; and four years of putting up with the frustration of repeated adjournments.

In her victim impact statement to the court, Lois wrote: “I feel I have missed out on my childhood. I was not allowed out with friends, not allowed to have a boyfriend, he made me stay at home …”

Now that chapter is over and she said last week: “I can finally start my life again”.


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