We are receiving an unprecedented number of inquiries from parents of boys and young men aged anywhere between 12 years and 19 years charged with sexual offending against a fellow female students at school.
These inquiries come with a myriad of facts such as age of the parties and where, when and what is said to have occurred. For the purposes here, the facts generally alleged are that the accused was involved in a romantic relationship with the complainant at school. One or both of the parties were at the time of the alleged offending under 16 years.
In most cases a social relationship progressed into a sexual relationship. The sexual offender was not a one-off event rather a boyfriend – girlfriend relationship. In these cases the accused pleads guilty if they knew that the complainant was under 16 years.
Alternatively the accused will plead not guilty when the sexual acts did not happen or the accused had reasonable grounds to believe that the complainant was 16 years or over and the accused was at the time of the alleged offending was older than the complainant by 3 years or less.
In some cases, one or both parents of either party were aware of a relationship. Some suspected that it was sexually based when the parties stayed overnight together in the same room at one or the other parent’s house. In most cases, the parents of the accused had chaperoned the two to various after-school social outings, had taken them to family events and dinners and taken them on holidays. In just about all cases a very large volume of exchanges on social media including sexting between the parties and recording and sharing camera footage of their sexual acts were included in the police brief.
The charges that follow include indecent dealings & sexual penetration (relating to a child) production and or possession of child exploitation material. When there is evidence if only on the say so of the complainant that there was a sexual relationship then police often prefer the charge of persistent sexual contact. The starting-point for boys and young men found guilty is an immediate term of imprisonment.
The law in relation to such alleged behaviours is strict. A child under 16 years cannot engage in sex. A child cannot consent to sex even though the child complainant agrees that the sexual contact was invited and that she was a willing partner then that goes to mitigation and not a defence..
As stated above, we raise this topic because here at criminal-lawyer-perth we are receiving an unprecedented number of calls from parents seeking help for their sons accused of sexually assaulting their “girlfriend’ at school. Some contemporaneously in time and some historical.
If you are a parent of an accused or an accused charged with sexual assault of a child in whatever circumstances but especially alleged in school situations then you need competent legal representation to navigate you through the legally complies and emotionally difficult times ahead.
Call Dr Marc Saupin on 0422 656 589 to discuss if you or anyone in your immediate family are the subject of sexual assault.