A teenage girl was defiled by a boy one year older than her when she went on a sleepover to watch the— turning what should have been a fun night into the worst night of her life.
Detective Garda Rachel McGrath of the Garda Protective Services Unit said at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork that the complainant had just turned 14 and the accused was 15.
She had arranged to stay on a sleepover at a female friend’s house for the night two years ago. During the evening, this friend asked her would she have sexual intercourse with her [the friend’s] boyfriend and the victim said she would not. The friend told her boyfriend of the injured party’s hesitancy.
The detective said the defendant then slapped the injured party on the bottom and rubbed her leg with his hand. He put his fingers in her vagina and she tried to push his hand away. The victim’s friend left the room, taking the victim’s phone with her.
“She was left alone in the bedroom with the accused and he said to take off her pants and underwear. She said no. He assisted in taking them off. He inserted his penis in her vagina while wearing a condom,” Det Garda McGrath said.
The 14-year-old told him to stop, that it was hurting her. He stopped but started again and ejaculated. She called to her local Garda station about three days later with her mother and made a complaint.
The then 15-year-old defendant was arrested and interviewed.
“He denied raping her and said all acts were consensual. He said he had sexual intercourse with her. He said she did say it was hurting. He said it was stopped and he started again slowly. He said it would have hurt because it was her first time, as it did with his girlfriend,” Det Garda McGrath said.
Mr Justice Michael McGrath said after the sentencing hearing that the victim was a brave and courageous young woman and he adjourned sentencing the now 17-year-old defendant until December 16.
The injured party’s friend was initially treated as being a suspect for sexual exploitation for her part in what occurred. She was dealt with via a juvenile caution and was also put on a Garda Youth Diversion Programme.
Siobhán Lankford, senior counsel for the accused teenager said: “He is remorseful. He acknowledges that his actions were wrong, that it was deeply hurtful. He appreciates and fully understands the wrong that was done on the night.
“As the court says, she is a brave young girl. She is doing her best to put the matter behind her and make a good life for herself.
“The court is dealing with two young people. It is hoped that both can build good lives for themselves. He has not come to Garda attention before or since this. Other than this, he is a young man of good character.”
The teenager said in her victim impact statement, which she read from the witness box on Thursday, that on November 27, 2020, “I went to a sleepover to my friend’s house to watch the. What should have been a great fun night turned into the worst night of my life.
“Everything has changed since then. I cannot explain the emptiness I feel. Not only did I lose much of my innocence that night, I also lost interest in living. Some days are OK and some days I don’t want to get out of bed. It has been extremely difficult trying to find that motivation again but I always try to push myself each day with the help and support given by my family, especially my mum.
“I did not want to go to school. I distanced myself from many as I didn’t know who to trust anymore. I had people at school ask me openly about what happened without any feeling or concern for me. I would lock myself in the bathroom at school and just cry. This became a frequent experience.
“Since he pleaded guilty it has given me some sort of relief I guess, but it does not take away the two years of pain I have been put through, and my family. It is going to be a part of my life forever. I have to live with it.
“However, I am not going to let this ruin my life, as slowly I am regaining my confidence. All I want now is to do well in my life and to live and feel like a normal person again. The accused should never have done this to me as I had never had a sexual experience before this.”
Mr Justice McGrath said to the injured party after she presented her victim impact evidence: “Thank you. You are a very brave and courageous young woman.”