The victim of historic sexual abuse by former Collingwood cheerleader identity Jeffrey “Joffa” Corfe is urging prosecutors to appeal the sentence handed down to his abuser, saying the fact that Corfe will not go to prison because of the incident, means he “got away with something”.
Last November, Corfe pleaded guilty to assaulting Yarraville man Alex Case in 2004 after inviting him to his home when Corfe was 44 and Case 14. two years, which means he will avoid prison.
Case, now 32, has given The age permission to use his name and spoke of his disappointment with the outcome.
“I feel like he’s getting away with something,” Case said. “I wanted to make sure he was held accountable for what he had done to me.
“He’s effectively getting out.”
The pair had communicated sporadically via email and MSN chat from late 2004 to early 2005, before making an appointment to meet in person.
The age has seen emails between the couple written in 2005. They show Corfe routinely turning the conversation back to sexual topics, while Case asks questions.
When Case arrived for their first face-to-face meeting, the person he met – Corfe – was older and more unkempt. Although he didn’t match the description, Case said he wasn’t leaving because he didn’t want to upset or offend Corfe.
Oral sex took place there, before Case left upset.
Case later texted to say Corfe should not have done what he did to a young person. Corfe then messaged back, agreeing and apologizing.
The sentence means that Corfe will receive a prison sentence, which will be suspended for a certain period of time. If Corfe is found guilty of a crime punishable by imprisonment within the period of the suspended sentence, he must serve the original term.
Corfe, who had returned to Brisbane, viewed the verdict online.
case told The age he decided to report the allegations one evening in June 2020.
He was sitting on the sofa at his home in Doncaster, combing through emails and looking for login details for an old social media account when the email chain between him and his abuser came up, and he read the sentence that blew his life apart: “I was wondering if we’ve met yet?
That sentence, sent by Corfe before he abused Case, raised the possibility that Case was not the only victim. It stuck in Case’s head, echoed off the screen and spurred him into action.
“My heart just started racing because I just realized what kind of seemed almost unbelievable in my head,” he said. “The fact that he asked if we had met before, after he knew how old I was, irritated me.”
The next morning, he was at Coburg police station with printouts of the emails, talking to a police officer. Case says the sentence disappointed him.
“After I went to the police, that was the beginning of my own jail time… I kind of asked myself why did I bother? Seems like it made no difference.
“I’ve basically been hiding in jail… ever since that day I went to the police because I’ve just waited and waited and waited.
“It definitely falls short of the community’s expectations.”
Judge Mullaly indicated in November that Corfe would likely avoid jail over that incident, in part because of his good character.
“He can appeal to his good character and … his important contributions to the community by asking for a merciful punishment for what was a one-time event,” Mullaly said last year.
However, the idea that the offense was a one-off was called into question by a second charge of assault reported by this masthead in December.
Thomas*, now 39 and living in western Melbourne, claims he was 15 when he started talking to Corfe on a hotline for LGTBQ teens in early 1999.
Thomas says Corfe originally told him he was a 22-year-old consultant named David and had arranged to meet a few weeks after his 16th birthday at a football match in Collingwood.
Corfe was 39 at the time and reportedly knew Thomas was 15 when they first spoke on the phone. Thomas did not report the incident to the police. When Case spoke to Corfe, he also used the name David.
I kind of asked myself why did I bother? Seems like it made no difference.
Alex Case, on reporting Jeffrey Corfe
Formerly the leader of the Collingwood Football Club cheerleading squad, Corfe was a prominent member of Melbourne’s football community. He starred in an independent Australian buddy movie in 2010, Joffa: The movieand published an autobiography in June 2015 called Joffa: Isn’t that life?
Case says he didn’t recognize Corfe when he came to the fore. Corfe’s prosecution also revealed a problem in the justice system that caused Case consternation and lawyers’ concerns.
Earlier in Corfe’s prosecution, he had asked for an indication of the sentence, a relatively new option for people accused of crimes. It allows them to get an idea of what their punishment will be, potentially encouraging them to plead guilty.
The first judge to consider the indication, Judge Frank Gucciardo, said he was unable to produce one. Judge Mullaly, a senior judge at the Victorian County Court, intervened and told Corfe that his abuse would not carry a prison sentence.
During the trial, Case wrote a victim impact statement, wanting his voice to be heard and considered when Mullaly decided what punishment to give Corfe.
There are risks involved in writing a victim impact statement for a sentencing. If the sentence is not accepted by the defendant and the case goes to trial, the defense can use all the information in the sentence to undermine the victim’s evidence.
Aware of that risk, Case says he was reluctant to write the statement for Mullaly because he feared the information could be used against him.
“I feel like I didn’t get a chance to fully explain how what happened on that day in 2005 affected the rest of my life,” he said.
“The fact that a victim of a violent crime risks everything at the moment a sentence indication is heard when a judge should set the ceiling for a sentence, should not pose a legal risk to the victim there.
“The fact that it could be used against me was always in the back of my mind.”
Last August, the court raised concerns that statements made by a crime victim in a victim impact statement could be used in a subsequent trial to discredit the creator of those statements.
“They were made at a time when the victim can be very emotional and express intimate feelings with less restraint than evidence in a formal trial,” Judges Karin Emerton, Emilios Kyrou and Terry Forrest wrote in a joint verdict.
They said impact statements were the victim’s only chance to tell the court how they were affected by a crime, noting that victims are doing the justice system an admirable service by making such statements.
“Courts are required to consider impact when imposing a sentence, and any activity that may interfere with the free flow of information from the victim to the court should be frowned upon,” they wrote.
When he thinks about it, Case says Corfe’s abuse affected his entire life.
“It was like that glass box full of fog that I always knew was there, and that I never stared at long enough to see fully… was there in the back of my mind, because it was obviously hard,” he said.
“I blamed myself for this bad thing that I was terrified someone would find out about.”
His feelings were so deeply repressed, Case believes that if someone had asked him if he had been abused, he could have said “no” and passed a lie detector test.
“I couldn’t even access it (the memory), I had suppressed it so much,” he said.
Crime Victims Commissioner Fiona McCormack declined to comment specifically on the Corfe case, but said victims should have greater access to legal representation when cases go to court.
“What really shocks me in this job is the extent to which people tell me … that they’ve been traumatized by the justice system,” she said.
*Thomas is not his real name. The man’s name cannot be disclosed for legal reasons.
If you or someone you know needs support, you can call the National Advisory Service on Sexual Violence, Domestic and Family Violence at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline on 131 114, or Beyond blue on 1300 224 636.
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