Teen spared jail for sex assault of girl (6) during game

A teenage boy has been spared a custodial sentence for sexually assaulting a six-year-old girl during a game of hide and seek.

The boy (17), who cannot be identified, appeared again at Dublin Children’s Court where he had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault and one charge of attempted sexual assault. He was aged 15 at the time of the incidents.

The girl, now aged nine, suffered from suicidal ideation, sleepless nights and “needs mammy with her all the time”.

Her mother told the court there was no getting away from this nightmare.

The court heard the teen, who was accompanied to court by his parents, has attended a sexual offending treatment programme for adolescents.

Judge John O’Connor imposed a 24-month probation bond on the teenager. In the lead-up to the sentencing hearing, the judge had said it was crucial for not just the boy, but also his parents, to accept his guilt.

Judge O’Connor explained they had to be 100pc involved as he stressed that the girl needed to be able to move on.

The teen boy, who is in school, hoped to go on to university and had shown remorse, defence barrister Tessa White had said.

At one point, the youth’s mother broke down in tears.

Research has shown adolescents who get the right treatment do not re-offend, and that was in complete contrast to statistics for adults, the judge had said.

He noted the boy’s family were “high achievers” who took failure very seriously but he had said to move forward there had to be genuine remorse.

It was sexual abuse, he said.

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