By Sonia Hickey and Ugur Nedim
A Sydney man is facing a maximum penalty of life imprisonment if convicted of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 10 years.
54-year old Kogarah resident Anthony Peter Sampieri is charged with 11 offences relating to the alleged sexual assault of a seven-year old girl in a toilet cubicle at a dance studio in the suburb where he lives on the night of 15 November 2018.
Court documents allege Mr Sampieri choked the seven-year-old to “render incapable of resistance… with the intent of committing another indictable offence”, and filmed an act of indecency for the purpose of producing child abuse material.
It has been reported that Mr Sampieri made several sexually obscene calls in the weeks preceding the alleged incident.
Police confirmed that a woman attended St George Police Station on October 26 to report some of the calls.
Mr Sampieri was interviewed, but released even though the alleged calls placed him in breach of his parole.
An internal police investigation in now examining why Samieri was not charged or reported to corrective services.
A police officer has been stood down from duties and the state’s corrective services minister David Elliott, is also reviewing the details of the alleged breach.
On parole for sex offences
The most recent charges come six years after Mr Sampieri was convicted of luring a 60-year-old woman into his Fairy Meadow home under the guise of selling furniture.
He then proceeded to sexually assault the woman.
Court documents state that before the 2012 attack, Sampieri was in the midst of a drug-fuelled “sex binge” and – in eerily similar circumstances to the most recent alleged offences – had been making sexually explicit phone calls in the fortnight leading up to that attack.
Sampieri pleaded guilty to making those calls and to aggravated sexual assault for the attack on the woman.
The judge ordered Mr Sampieri to serve a minimum term of four years’ in prison from 22 October 2012, plus an additional term of up to three years on parole.
He became eligible for parole on 21 October 2016, but was released in September last year.
His parole period is set to expire on 21 October 2019.
The standard parole conditions include not committing any further offences and “adapt[ing] to normal lawful community life”.
He was also required to abstain from drugs and alcohol and to “comply with all reasonable directions from a community corrections officer”, including participating in treatment programs.
The NSW Parole Authority has issued a statement saying parole was granted as it was Sampieri’s first period of adult incarceration, he had demonstrated satisfactory prison performance and participated in relevant programs and/or counselling, including a sex offender program.
It has been reported that in the weeks leading up to his alleged sexual assault of the seven-year old girl, Sampieri was regularly participating in charity run meals-for- the-homeless service, adjacent to a day care centre.
Tracking devices for ‘high-risk’ offenders
In the wake of the alleged incident, there have been calls for a review into the way police communicate with corrective services about breaches of parole, as well as ways to prevent offending on parole.
The government recently announced reforms aimed at ensuring that all ‘ high-risk’ risk sex offenders are required to wear tracking devices on their ankles.
‘High risk’ includes having committed a sexual offence punishable by a maximum penalty of seven years or more, even if the actual sentence is shorter.
The trackers can be used to enforce curfews and ‘no go zones’ – activating an alarm if the wearer breaches programmed conditions.
There are currently 980 sentenced sex offenders in NSW prisons. 377 of them will be eligible for parole in the next 12 months.
Mr Sampieri’s criminal defence lawyer did not apply for bail in court, and bail was formally refused.
The case is scheduled to come before Sutherland Local Court on 23 January 2019.