A New Zealand teenager who admitted to raping a 14-year-old girl won’t be able to erase the charges from his record, but that’s the only punishment he’ll receive, according to the New Zealand news outlet Stuff.
The teenager, who is now 18 and was not identified by name, has plans to become a “professional sportsman” and has already “represented New Zealand on the world stage.” After the judge learned of his athletic accomplishments, it apparently contributed to his decision to allow the teen to avoid jail time.
The rape allegedly took place during a school trip where the teen was drinking alcohol with the 14-year-old victim and began to kiss her. The girl then said she felt uncomfortable with the ordeal and went to bed. It was then that the teen went to her room and performed oral sex on her. The next day, he allegedly forced the girl to perform oral sex on him, saying that she “owed” it to him.
During a party 5 months later, the teen was kissing another girl who this time was his own age. When he tried to forcibly remove her clothes, the girl tried to resist him and he forced her to perform oral sex and then raped her on the hood of a car.
Despite acknowledging the horrific nature of the attacks during the teen’s sentencing, the judge made a point to mention his athletic accomplishments.
“You are an avid and talented [sportsman, having competed] at a high-level and that includes representing New Zealand overseas,” Judge Tony Fitzgerald reportedly said. “Your goal is to be a professional [sportsman] and compete internationally. References provided tell of your outstanding talent and your potential bright future.”
Judge Fitzgerald gave the teen credit for his “talents,” the remorse he allegedly showed, his participation in a rehabilitation course, the 200 hours of community service he completed, and his lack of a criminal past. Ultimately, the teen’s only punishment will be a blemish on his record.
Speaking to Stuff, sexual abuse victims’ advocate Kathryn McPhillips said that while she recognizes that youth courts should primarily give children second chances, the judge’s ruling ignores the rights of the victim.
“But where are the rights of the victim in that?” she said. “How does the victim get their life back? They don’t.”
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