Australian actress Maggie Kirkpatrick had her day in court last week. The actress was charged with sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in 1984, according to the Telegraph. Even with the passage of more than 30 years, the actress went to court to face the magistrate for her crime, and he found her guilty of three charges. Those charges are "two counts of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency with a person under the age of 16."
In 1984, Kirkpatrick starred on a popular Australian television series called Prisoners. On the series, she played one of the wardens in charge of the prisoners, and her character, nicknamed "The Freak," was known to assault the young women serving their sentences in jail.
Kirkpatrick was a popular character on the series, and she was well-loved by fans. One 14-year-old girl was a huge fan, and she was introduced by a producer of the series to Kirkpatrick. After the two met, Kirkpatrick offered to take the young fan to her home. At the time, the girl was a patient at a mental hospital, and she was able to leave on a day pass.
Reports revealed that Kirkpatrick cooked dinner for the girl, sat down with the girl to watch television, and then took the young girl into the bedroom. That is where the assault allegedly took place.
Kirkpatrick denied the allegations against her when the charges were filed. She said that she was only being "nice" when she took the young girl to her home that night. An interview with Maggie Kirkpatrick was shown in court, and she denied the charges against her again, according to The Australian.
"These are untrue allegations. It's making me feel quite sick."The young girl in this case is now a 45-year-old mother of three children, and she decided to come forward with her story in 2013. She told her husband about the incident one night as they lay together in bed, but she did not share any details.
Magistrate Peter Mealy found the 74-year-old Kirkpatrick guilty of her crime on Friday, but he did not sentence her to jail time. She will need to perform community service, and she will be listed on the sex offender registry for eight years. She will also need to undergo treatment.
She was not sentenced to time behind bars because it was her only crime. There have been no other reports or misconduct since that allegeed 1984 incident.
Mealy spoke about her crime and the sentence, according to the Guardian.
"All along to this point, as has been observed, the defendant showed no remorse – instead simply protesting at a distance, in her terms, the untrue and malicious allegations. The vulnerable in our society need to be protected."However, Maggie Kirkpatrick is fighting her conviction. Within an hour of her hearing on Friday, her lawyers filed an appeal. For that appeal, she will appear in court again on September 11. The magistrate will hear her lawyer's arguments and decide if an overturn of her conviction is warranted.
The victim in this case has also spoken out about the conviction, and she is happy with the conviction. The unnamed woman spoke with the media after the conviction was handed down, according to news.com.au.
"I feel deeply grateful for this verdict. I feel believed, and now can finally begin the process of healing. I wish to thank my family and friends for their unwavering support and kindness through this traumatic process."Kirkpatrick currently lives in Sydney, and she still actively performs on stage. She appeared in several other Australian television shows in addition to Prisoners, including Home & Away. For the conviction, she will have to move to Victoria.
The case of Maggie Kirkpatrick is not the only sexual abuse case generating headlines this month. In the United States last week, Molly Shattuck, a former cheerleader for the Baltimore Ravens, was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.
According to the Mercury News, the teen, "a classmate of one of Shattuck's children at the McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Maryland, told police last September that Shattuck began an inappropriate relationship with him near Baltimore, and that it culminated with sexual activity at a vacation rental home in Bethany Beach over Labor Day weekend. The indictment alleged that Shattuck provided alcohol to three boys under the legal drinking age on Aug. 30 and Aug. 31 of last year and that she had sexual contact with one boy on or about Aug. 31."
In Shattuck's case, the judge sentenced her to a 15-year-suspended sentence, and she will need to spend 48 weekends in custody. That is all the jail time she will face for the charges against her. Shattuck spoke at her sentencing hearing on Friday. She said that, "I take full responsibility for what I did. I never, ever, ever intended, obviously, to hurt anybody. I will spend the rest of my life making this right."
As for Maggie Kirkpatrick, some fans of the actress have spoken out for her on Twitter. They believe she is innocent.
Bet this is how #MaggieKirkpatrick is feeling. Let's hope the truth comes out. A whole career torn apart by what?😯 pic.twitter.com/UR1pHqkZSU
— Eric Hall (@erich7085) August 22, 2015
Still believe that #MaggieKirkpatrick is being criminalised based on her #PCBH character. We still believe in you. #PrisonerCellBlockH
— Eric Hall (@erich7085) August 22, 2015
Please retweet for total support of actress Maggie Kirkpatrick innocence. We love u Maggie. #maggiekirkpatrickinnocentWhat do you think? Are you shocked by the lack of jail time in these two cases involving the sexual abuse of minors?
— In Living Colour (@SharonEBayer) August 22, 2015
[Photo by Sergio Dionisio/Getty Images]