Tragic child abuse case

The West Australian

I was asked to make comment on a tragic case of an adolescent sex offender raping a male and female, each 3 years of age. This case is a tragic reminder of the escalating number of sexual assaulted being committed by adolescent sex offenders. These crimes are on the rise and now constitute more than a third of reported crimes. Sadly adolescent sex offenders often go onto become adult sex offenders. It is crucial that they are subjected to the right programs, reassessed on an ongoing basis and for their treatment to enable them to take responsibility for their crimes, understand the impact of their crimes on their victims and that they do have a choice in what they do.

The young children of course will need expert ongoing care and support as will their families to help them find a way to live healthy and connected lives. It was good to see that the media was not only interested in the sensationalist side of the case but the 2 interviews I did on ABC Kimberleys and Mix 94.5 sought to understand the message the sentence was giving the community and the ongoing impacts of there crimes

(c) 2010, West Australian Newspapers Limited

A 16-year-old boy who raped two children after taking them from the yards of their Kununurra homes could be released from detention in October after being sentenced in Perth Children’s Court yesterday.

The boy was 15 and had used alcohol, cannabis and ecstasy when he led the two three-year-olds — a boy and a girl — away from two homes and sexually penetrated them in separate assaults committed within an hour of each other last December.

The court was told the boy, the teenager’s first victim, cried in pain during the attack and suffered an internal injury.

The teenager fled when the second victim’s father found him standing over his naked daughter.

Children’s Court president Denis Reynolds said the offences were so serious there was no option but to impose a total of two years’ detention to send a message to the community that sexual assaults against children would have serious consequences.

Judge Reynolds said that the teenager’s behaviour was “totally unacceptable”.

But Judge Reynolds said he also had to take into account the teenager’s guilty pleas to two counts of aggravated sexually penetration, his co-operation, the absence of sexual offences on his record, his supportive family and his youth.

Judge Reynolds ordered that the teenager become eligible for supervised release within 10 months, which is earlier than the 12 months which would usually apply to his two-year term of detention and the shortest possible minimum term for his sentence.

The sentence was backdated to take account of time spent in custody since his arrest which means he will be eligible for release in October.

Adults Surviving Child Abuse chairwoman Cathy Kezelman said that the sentence appeared to be lenient and it was crucial the teenager undertook programs while in detention because sexual offending as an adolescent could be the start of a pattern which continued into adulthood.

“The sentence does sound light given the potential impact on those two children,” Dr Kezelman said.

“I think the sentence does (also) appear to be light given the message the judge was trying to deliver to the community.”