Teenager escapes jail over child rape – tabloids ignore the respectable perverts
IN “Teenager ‘corrupted’ by porn rapes girl, 5“, the Sun’s Emily Nash tells readers that a 15-year-old who raped a five-year-old when he was 14 will not go to prison. Why? Because, as Judge Gareth Hawkesworth told him:
“You have not shown any particular sexual interest in children. I’m satisfied it was impulsive and I believe you have become sexualised by your exposure to and the corruption of pornography. our exposure at such a young age has ended in tragedy. It was the fault of the world and society.”
The teenager, who was working as the toddler’s paid babysitter (£10), was handed a three-year community order. He also received a five-year sexual offences prevention order, the terms of which forbid him from experiencing porn.
Julia Flanagan, defending, told Cambridge Crown Court:
“He was watching excessive pornography, which was very inappropriate for his age. We have a very frightened and remorseful boy who is very ashamed. This was an isolated incident. There was no threat or force used.” The boy — now 15 but too young to be named — told cops he had “lost his mind”. He added: “I think my hormones took over.”
Corinne Sweet, psychologist, tells Daily Mirror readers:
Over the last 20 years we have seen increasing sexualisation of young people. But often children are too young to make any sense of the videos or images they see. You cannot simply say that children act out pornography in a copycat manner. But what they glean from sexual videos does affect how they behave. Research suggests that exposure to extreme pornography desensitises children. They can be so immersed in pornography it becomes their norm.
Explicit videos arouse feelings in children they cannot process, and those feelings have to be let out somewhere.
If they see things online, they may act them out. We are building ourselves a sexual timebomb by making pornography so easy to access.
Most pornography shows fantasy relationships – inequality and domination.
This is not a healthy message to send to our kids.
The Daily Express quotes Tory MP Nick de Bois, who sits on the Justice Committee:
“A 14-year-old knows what is right and what is wrong. This shocking act should have been punished with a detention and training order at least. I dread to think what message this sends out to others. I think it would have been more appropriate for the judge to look to the parents and their son’s responsibilities than blame society.”
Is the judge so very out of kilter with the concept of punishment? The Sun omits to mention that the boy is banned from viewing all and any porn. So does the Daily Mail, which uses the case to promtoe its campaign to “BLOCK ONLINE PORN”. Both papers also fail to report that the boy’s mother had been forced to give up her job as a childminder.
The Telegraph , however, does. It also records Judge Hawkesworth’s other words:
“He knows that what he has done will follow him for the rest of his life. He is marked to some as a sexual deviant forever.”
The judge requested six monthly reports be sent to him to monitor to the boy’s progress and ordered him to register his whereabouts with the police for two and a half years. A sexual offences prevention order was also made for five years, stating he must not access or seek to access pornography of any kind.
The tabloids portray Hawkesworth as a dangerous fool. But what good sending the teenager to prison? Would it deter other teenagers from raping children?