Local News - Victoria

Airbnb superhost jailed for raping ‘young, vulnerable’ teenager

The young victim travelled from interstate with a friend to see one of their favourite rappers perform and shared the apartment with Weston.

The host repeatedly urged them to drink with him but the pair ignored his requests and tried to avoid him.

On the second night of their stay, the victim became unwell because she had too much to drink and didn’t go out with her friend and Weston.

She threw up several times and Weston repeatedly asked her if she wanted to sleep in his bed, which she refused.

But shortly after she went to the bathroom to vomit, the Airbnb host picked her up and carried her to his room, where he raped her repeatedly despite her pleas to stop.

The victim was finally able to push off Weston and get help from her friend, who called police.

The crime was opportunistic and he took advantage of a “young, vulnerable victim” who was affected by alcohol, Judge Gucciardo said.

The judge praised the victim’s “powerful and dignified statements” about her assault, which detailed her ongoing damage and trauma.

“Her rage is naturally justified and the ongoing trauma of this offending has coloured every aspect of her life,” Judge Gucciardo said.

The victim earlier told the court her attacker’s life had changed for the worst and he may go to prison, but her life had changed forever.

“I got my sentence that night when there was no jury or judge, yet that sentence lasts the rest of my life,” she said.

The judge said Weston was in a position of trust as a superhost and his positive record provided a “veneer of respectability, comfort and trust”.

On its website, Airbnb says superhosts “provide a shining example for other hosts, and extraordinary experiences for their guests”.

Weston continues to claim he is innocent and has been considered a low-risk of reoffending, but his prospects of rehabilitation may be hindered by his denial of the crimes.

Psychological reports showed he often held others responsible for the outcomes of his actions.

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