A prominent hospitality figure who robbed a waitress of her self-worth by trying to buy her for sex has begged to be spared jail.
A prominent hospitality figure who robbed a waitress of her self-worth by trying to buy her for sex has begged to be spared jail.

Sex offending boss: ‘Jail me and my family gets deported’

Cafe identity Miguel Dantas De Sa robbed a 16-year-old waitress of her self-worth and left her feeling disgusted and guilty by trying to "buy her for sex" with $200, a court has heard.

On Thursday, De Sa's victim told the District Court her former boss had acted as if sexual grooming was "a normal occurrence" and "acceptable" in paid employment.

De Sa, meanwhile, begged Judge Liesl Chapman to show him mercy and spare him jail - despite continuing to deny any offending and having filed an appeal.

Craig Caldicott, for De Sa, said his client's Australian working visa also secured residency for his parents and sister, tying their fates to his.

"If he receives a period of 12 months' imprisonment or more then, by federal law, he does not pass the 'good character' test and will be deported back to Portugal," he said.

"So there is a flow-on effect, and the net result is they will be deported as a family.

"I accept it's an incredibly big ask for me to do this, but I'm urging Your Honour to see your way clear to placing him on a bond, without any prison time.

"He will repay the community tenfold."

De Sa, 28, of Ashford, was found guilty at trial of two aggravated counts of indecent assault and one aggravated count of communicating with a child to procure sexual activity.

He is well known in Adelaide's hospitality industry for his work at venues including the Rydges Hotel, the Lady Burra Brewhouse and La Taberna.

In 2016 he took the girl into a cafe's cool room, locked the door and asked her sexually provocative questions including what she "would do for $200".

He also caused her to expose herself, touched her inappropriately and offered to make her his "best girl".

In her victim impact statement on Thursday, the girl said it had taken her "a very long time" to process the trauma caused by De Sa.

"I felt disgusted that he wanted to buy me for sex … he made me feel like I shouldn't be respected, like this was a normal occurrence and it was acceptable," she said.

"I'm still suffering from emotional and psychological effects … it makes me feel ashamed, uncomfortable, embarrassed and many other things my words fail to describe."

Dr Julie-Anne Lake, prosecuting, said nothing short of immediate jail could adequately punish De Sa.

"This was a clear power imbalance, not only in terms of age but more importantly by his position as her employer," she said.

"This incident was an entree into procuring her to have sex with him for money … that's completely unacceptable."

Judge Chapman remanded De Sa on continuing bail for sentencing in two weeks.

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.


Originally published as Cafe identity: 'Jail me and my whole family gets deported'