Teenage boys admit attempted oral rape and sexual assault in County Limerick

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Central Criminal Court

TWO teenage boys who stole a girl’s phone in an attempt to force her to perform oral sex have been warned they may face a period of detention when their case is finalised next month.

The two boys and the victim are all now aged 17 and cannot be identified because they are legally minors.

The first boy, who had just turned 15 at the time, pleaded guilty attempted oral rape, four counts of sexual assault and one count of assault causing harm on February 6, 2020 at a location in County Limerick.

The second boy, then aged 14, pleaded guilty to attempted oral rape and four counts of sexual assault on the same date.

The victim was 14 at the time of the incident.

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Both boys have no previous convictions and have not come to Garda attention in the meantime.

At a sentencing hearing at the Central Criminal Court on Friday,  Mr Justice Paul McDermott said the victim was subjected to an “awful experience” which can cause lasting damage. He noted that she had not submitted a victim impact statement and was not present in court.

However, she is “entitled to protection”,  Mr Justice McDermott added.

He said there was a “very nasty element” to the offending as the boys had tried to “trap the girl” and force her to engage by taking her phone. When this approach did not work, violence was used. This showed a “lack of respect” for the girl, her rights and her dignity.

Mr Justice McDermott said there were “very serious” elements to this case including the theft of her phone which was a “cynical and nasty thing to do” to try to get her to submit to their wishes. When this did not work, they turned to violence and intimidation.

The boys “did not accept ‘no’ as her legitimate answer”.  They had acted jointly by “ganging up” on the victim in what were “clearly acts of a deliberate nature”.

Setting a headline sentence of six years detention, Mr Justice McDermott indicated he would impose a sentence of nine years on an adult for this “serious” offending.

However, he noted the mitigating factors include the boys’ guilty pleas, their expressions of remorse and their young age.

Adjourning the case to December 9 for finalisation, he ordered the Probation Service to outline a possible structure for engagement with the boys.

He indicated he intends to impose a three-year period of detention, with 16 months to be served in custody and the balance to be suspended on full.

The court heard that the two boys and the victim were part of a group of teenagers who were hanging out together in the hours before this incident took place.

After some of this group went home, the first boy took the victim’s phone and threatened to smash it unless she gave him oral sex. The first boy then ran away and the victim followed to retrieve her phone.

During the assault, the victim’s hair was pulled by the first boy and she was pushed to the ground repeatedly by both boys.  The victim was also trapped between both of the boys who made several attempts to pull her pants down and touch her genital area.

At one point, the first boy grabbed her hands, while the second boy attempted to pull down her pants. The victim resisted, kicking her legs and managed to get one of her hands free.

Both of the accused made several requests to the victim for oral sex during the incident, which she refused. They both also exposed themselves to the victim at different times during the incident.

The two boys eventually returned the victim’s phone and left the scene. The victim then went to a friend’s house, and told her what happened.  She later told her parents, who contacted Gardaí.

CCTV footage obtained from the scene was played to the court.

The two boys were interviewed in the presence of a family member. Both admitted that they had taken the victim’s phone and made requests for oral sex, which she refused.

The first boy admitted he made around ten requests for oral sex, exposed himself twice and attempted to put his penis in the victim’s mouth. He told gardai that he had attempted to sexually assault the victim, and said he was ashamed of his actions.

The second accused admitted to asking the victim for oral sex and that he had pushed her head towards the ground. He told Gardaí that he was ashamed of his actions, which were wrong.

The first accused lives with a relative, as both of his parents are deceased.

The second accused boy lives with his family, and has three informal cautions for minor offences under the Juvenile Diversion Programme.

Mr Justice McDermott said both of the accused had demonstrated that they had reflected on their actions and now realise  it was “appalling and disgraceful behaviour”.