Spared jail: Sunderland schoolboy who sexually touched a two-year-old girl

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A SCHOOLBOY found guilty of sexually touching a two-year-old girl has been spared prison, but was warned by a judge to stay out of trouble.

The 12-year-old boy, who was living in Sunderland at the time, denied the offence, but was found guilty after a trial at Sunderland Youth Court last month.

During the trial, court heard that the youngster, who was 11 at the time and cannot be named for legal reasons, put his hand between the toddler’s legs when she was not wearing any underwear, last Christmas Eve.

The boy was caught by his foster carer, who told the court the girl had taken off her underwear, after an accident while she was being potty trained.

Sentencing was adjourned while the Youth Offending Service prepared a report about him.

When he returned to the court, District Judge Roger Elsey told the schoolboy he was not sending him to jail, but warned him to stay out of trouble. He said: “It is important that you do not re-offend, now you have this serious conviction recorded against you.

“It is in your interests to do what you are told.

“If you do not, you will only get heavier punishments.

“Because it is your first offence and you are only 12, you will not be going to prison today.”

The boy will be supervised through a 12-month youth rehabilitation order and electronically tagged for a three-month curfew, from 8.30pm until 7.30am.

Defence solicitor George Tilley admitted that the youngster had been refusing to work with his new foster carer and organisations trying to help him.

Giving evidence at his trial, the boy’s carer broke down in tears as he told the court what he had seen him do.

He said: “At first I could not believe what was actually happening. My mind could not take in the sight that was before me.

“This was just seconds, then I said, what are you doing and he chucked her off his knee. He got up from the chair and ran to the front door and ran out, saying ‘I was not touching her’.

“I know what I saw. I can still see it now when I close my eyes.”

Prosecutor Janice Bellamy said the boy told a police officer that he touched the girl “once, quickly in the privates”.

However, the boy insisted that he referred to the bottom area as “privates”.

He claimed he was lifting the girl onto his knee and had put one hand on her bottom to steady her. He denied his foster carer saw his victim’s dress pulled above her waist.

The court heard that the boy was now being looked after by foster carers out of the Sunderland area.