A 16-YEAR-old boy has been cleared of three charges of sexual offences in what a district judge called a ‘bizarre’ case.
Three allegations were made against the teenager, dating back to 2010, by an eight-year-old girl who claimed he had touched her sexually on one occasion and tried to have sexual intercourse with her on a further two occasions.
The youth court trial, held at Burnley Magistrates’ Court yesterday was shown videos of two police interviews conducted with the child at the time and she was then questioned via video link.
The court heard the girl had been shown explicit images and cartoon pornography featuring Disney princesses by someone else some weeks before making the accusations in 2010.
The court also heard that she had been given ‘tutelage’ about sex and sexual activity from an older girl around the same time.
While being cross-examined by the defence barrister Philip Holden, the girl made further allegations against the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, all of which had not previously been reported to either the police or the girl’s mother.
Although she was said to be suffering from some pain and redness in her genitals at the time, a forensic report carried out in December 2010 found that it was unlikely to be caused by sexual activity and more likely to be an infection, such as thrush or cystitis.
District Judge James Prowse said: “This is a very bizarre and unusual case.
“There are no specific dates for any of the separate charges and, when questioned, the child made a number of further allegations, using very adult and somewhat manipulative terminology.
“It is very troubling that a girl so young was exposed to pornography and it is also worrying that she was shown the material by an older girl who should have known better.
“I just don’t know if this man abused her, I don’t know if the pornography influenced her to make it up, or if someone else had molested her at a previous time. But even making allowances for her young age and the length of time that it has taken for this case to reach court, I feel there are just too many inconsistencies in her story for us to convict this young man and not enough evidence to support her claims.”