A senior naval officer has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a girl 25 years ago.

The Victorian County Court heard the lieutenant, who cannot be named, was 20 years old and unhappily married when he indecently assaulted his wife's 12-year-old step-sister.

The court heard he abused her at a karate camp in Lancefield north of Melbourne and months later at their home in Melbourne's south-east.

The man later told police the girl was promiscuous, and while he knew his behaviour was inappropriate, he was immature and did not realise it was against the law.

The man's lawyer asked the judge to consider giving him a community corrections order without a conviction.

She told the court the now 45-year-old man hopes to become a lieutenant in command and a conviction could lead to his dismissal from the navy.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

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