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    Former NSW Gymnastics Coach of the Year Daniel Benson has been charged with sexual assault.

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      daniel benson sexual intercourse with child

      Gymnastics Coach Daniel Benson Charged with Sexual Assault

      Former NSW Gymnastics Coach of the Year Daniel Benson has been charged with sexual assault.

      Police began investigating the 55-year-old in October 2021. The sexual assault charges relate to four gymnasts he was coaching, aged 14 to 18 years old.

      The allegations were in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

      He has been refused bail and will appear at Manly Local Court next year.

      Charged with Sexual Assault

      Daniel Benson was charged with sexual assault on 15 December 2021. He was arrested and taken to Hornsby Police Station where he was refused bail.

      Police laid 25 offences which included aggravated sexual assault, aggravated sexual intercourse with child under 16 and take person with intent to obtain advantage.

      The Child Abuse Squad commenced investigating historical sexual abuse allegations against Mr Benson in October 2021.

      “In October, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad established Strike Force Willington to investigate reports a number of girls had been sexually abused by their coach in the late ’90s and early ’00s,” a police statement read.

      “Police will allege in court that the man sexually abused four girls – then aged between 14 and 18 – on numerous occasions between 1999 and 2004, while they were students under his care.”

      Working with Children’s Check Refused

      Daniel Benson was refused a working with children check in 2016 and his status updated to ‘barred’ following an undisclosed incident.

      More recently, it was reported that he was assisting at the Nepean Gymnastics Academy in a ‘hands off’ role. This role was said to include performing maintenance checks on the equipment with no direct involvement with the young athletes.

      Gymnastics NSW suspended the club’s membership with the association and the gym was closed while an investigation was commenced.

      “There is zero tolerance to incidents of abuse of athletes,” the association assured families in a statement sent to members.

      Previous Sexual Touching Charges

      Police previously alleged Daniel Benson sexually touched a number of students between January 2020 and June 2021, while they were under his care at the gym.

      He was arrested and taken to Penrith Police Station where he was charged with engaging in child-related work without clearance, eight counts of sexual touching child aged between 10 and 16 as well as sexually touching child under 10.

      Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad commenced their investigation in July 2021 after receiving reports that a girl had been sexually abused by her coach during a training session.

      Police then identified four further complainants, all aged between nine and seventeen years of age.

      At the time Benson was granted bail with conditions that included living at his Hornsby address and a surety providing $40,000 security. He was also required to report to Hornsby Police Station every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and was prohibited from entering any gymnasiums.

      Sexual Intercourse with Child

      Section 66A of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) sets out that engaging in sexual intercourse with a child is an offence.

      You can fight asexual intercourse with a child charge in two ways. Firstly, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt:

      1. You had sexual intercourse with the alleged victim; and
      2. The alleged victim was a child

      The following defences to sexual intercourse with a child charges can be used:

      1. Honest and reasonable mistake: if you are charged with ‘Sexual intercourse with child between 14-16 years’, it is a defence that you held an honest and reasonable belief that the alleged victim was above the legal age of consent;
      2. Identification: The Crown cannot establish beyond reasonable doubt that you were the offender;

      Consent is not a defence as a child cannot give consent to sexual activity of any kind.

      An offence of ‘Sexual intercourse with child between 14-16 years’ carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment of 10 years. There is no standard non-parole period (SNPP)

      The maximum penalty for ‘Sexual intercourse with child between 10-14 years’ carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 16 years. The standard non-parole period is 7 years imprisonment

      Sexual intercourse with child charges are extremely serious. The stigma that comes with them is likely to follow a person for the rest of their life. That is why it is important to obtain advice from a specialist sexual assault lawyer who has successfully defended hundreds of these charges. You can contact Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823 or email us at info@astorlegal.com.au.

      Looking at statistics for child sexual assault sentencing over the last 5 years, it is unsurprising to see that over 80% of persons found guilty of sexual intercourse with a child were sentenced to full-time imprisonment.  You can view come recent cases where our sexual intercourse with child lawyers were able to have charges dismissed by clicking here.

      Plainly, jail is very likely for this offence. Recent sentencing amendments have done away with suspended sentences, which further increased the likelihood of a term of imprisonment being imposed if you are found or plead guilty.

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