July 2010

Teenager spared jail as abuse could have been ‘sexual experimentation’

A TEENAGER who sexually abused a younger boy has been spared a custodial sentence.

Terrence McCulloch-Kerarney was not sent to a young offenders institution after a court heard that the offences could have been attributed to sexual experimentation.

The abuse was discovered after the victim’s mother read an explicit text message on her son’s phone, which had been sent by McCulloch-Kerarney.

Police later found child pornography on McCulloch-Kerarney’s computer.

Sentencing McCulloch-Kerarney to an 18-month community order, Judge John Milmo QC said: “Parliament has a distinction between sexual offences committed by those over 18 or under 18.

“It may involve sexual experimentation rather than what the public would think of as sexual abuse.”

McCulloch-Kerarney, now 19, was 17 when he abused the younger boy, who was 13.

Judge Milmo said he had given regard to McCulloch-Kerarney’s intelligence, maturity and sexual development when the abuse happened, given how young he was at the time.

McCulloch-Kerarney had been assessed by a psychologist, who said that the offences could have been sexual experimentation.

Mark Knowles, for the prosecution, said that the victim had been “vulnerable” due to some difficulties at home, and when his mother found out about the abuse she told police.

McCulloch-Kerarney, of Branksome Walk, The Meadows, was then interviewed by police.

He admitted what he had done, and actually gave more details about the offences.

He said he knew it had been wrong, because the other boy was only 13.

He also told police he had downloaded indecent videos and photographs of children.

When he appeared in court he pleaded guilty to three charges of sexual activity with a child and nine charges of making indecent images of children.

Judge Milmo emphasised that “making” refers to the downloading of the images, and McCulloch-Kerarney had not photographed any children himself.

The images were mostly of children similar to his own age.

There were thumbnail photographs of younger children, but McCulloch-Kerarney had deleted the full-sized versions after downloading them.

Nottingham Crown Court heard that the thumbnails would have automatically been left on the computer.

The court heard that McCulloch-Kerarney had himself been having difficulties at the time the offences happened.

Under his community order, McCulloch-Kerarney will be supervised by the Probation Service.

His computer and hard-drives have been forfeited.

Judge Milmo warned him: “If you commit no further offences, and I am sure that you won’t, over thenext 18 months, you will hear no more about this. If you commit any further offences, particularly a sexual offence or downloading pornography, then you can be brought back.

“I will have no choice but to send you away. So the choice is yours.”