Sweet sixteen and ready for raping

From BBC

Children’s charities have reacted with anger after a window cleaner who raped a girl of 10 was jailed for two years.

Keith Fenn, 24, will be free in four months after a judge said the girl, who was attacked in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, had appeared older.

The charity Kidscape accused Judge Julian Hall of “trying to find excuses” and said a child must never be blamed.

Attorney General Lord Goldsmith is to decide whether the sentence should be appealed against as “unduly lenient”.

Oxford Crown Court heard that Fenn raped the girl in a park on 14 October, before an accomplice, Darren Wright, 34, took her home and sexually assaulted her.

Judge Hall said in sentencing he faced a moral dilemma as the fact they had sex within 45 minutes of meeting was an absolute crime.

But he said the girl had dressed provocatively and looked as though she was 16

Lawyers for the defendants stressed that the sex had been consensual, and was only termed ‘rape’ because of the framework of law.

Oh well she was dressed provocatively and looked sixteen, what a horror that he was sentenced at all.

It was only termed rape because of the framework of the law?? WTF??


  1. Tyler M

    I think the point is that if the kid is under 16 then it’s rape, if they’re older than 16 it might be rape. Consensual sex is not only difficult to prove one way or the other, but a very different proof whether they’re younger or older than 16.

    When they call it “rape” that entails a certain process of aggressive sexual attack, but that’s not necessarily the case.

    Can I assume I don’t need to mention I’m in no way supporting the judge or the perps? Just pointing out the critically important grey area here.

    • k@711chan

      It's good of you to point that out. After all, a guy who is 19 in Alabama can have willing, consenting, and loving sex with his 16 year old girlfriend and be charged with "Statutory rape", the kind of 'rape' I am assuming is being put forth in this trial.

      While the guy really should have asked for her ID if she looked "at the cusp" (Since I am assuming this is a place where 16 is the age of consent) it's a hard line. Still, at 24 and most certaintly 34 you should really not be banging 14 or even 16 year olds. You had your chance when you were younger guys, come on.

  2. I’m still wrestling with the “moral dilemma” faced by the judge. Once the age of the girl was established her apparent age should not have been a mitigating factor… at all.

    The two perpetrators obviously did not know the girl or they would have known her age. The sex can’t be “consensual” under British common law since she is under the age of consent.

  3. Les

    Tyler M & Dave,

    This is not a grey area at all. Nor is it British common law. Type “Sexual Offences Act 2003” into google and follow the opsi link. All will become clear. The rules are:

    Sexual intercourse with a child under 16 is illegal (worth 14 years). The child’s consent is irrelevant, except that without consent it would be rape. Mistake to age is a defence because the defendant can believe that the child legally consented.

    Sexual intercourse with a child under 13 is (statutory) rape (worth “life” – 15 years). The child’s consent is irrelevant, mistake to age is irrelevant. Hence, the defendant’s belief that the child legally consented is irrelevant. Rape does not require violence, merely a lack of consent.

    In this case, apparently, the girl did consent (taking candy from a baby?) and did look older than her years. Hence the “framing of the law” nonsense. But we’re all a bit incredulous about mistaking a 10 year old for a 16 year old.

    So, there’s a bit of an outcry over here in Blighty, one or two of our newspapers have suggested that the judge is not such a fine fellow, and comments posted to their websites describe him as “Psycho” or “Paedophile” and use other reasonable, balanced terms.

    Seriously, Kidscape might be right about “trying to find excuses”. Apparently, the judge said “She would have been wearing a lot of make up because that’s how she liked to dress”. That’s an assumption, not a fact. He also described her as “sexually precocious”. That’s either slander or a disclosure he is not authorised to make (We have laws against that sort of thing). In the judge’s opinion, dressing provocatively includes “wearing strappy tops and jeans”. Also, she was wearing a frilly bra and a thong on the day she was raped. (I assume she was wearing more than that.)

    Before anyone asks “What sort of parents buy a ten year old girl a thong”, I ought to tell you that she has been in care since she was 4 years old.

    So I guess “WTF??” just doesn’t do it justice.

  4. April Reign

    Correct WTF does not do it justice.

    By way of defence I was absolutely speechless at the ruling.

  5. Les

    You should come over here, April. You don’t need a defence for that sort of thing. Or anything else, I guess. :smile:

    I forgot to mention, this judge has a bit of a “track record” for leniency. Earlier this year, he ordered a sex offender to pay his 6 year old victim £250 ($500) so she could “buy a new bike to cheer herself up”.

    Speechless, you say?

    A couple of years ago, two kids died at the hands of a paedophile in a place called Soham. We have spent millions on legal and procedural reforms to bring such people to justice and prevent it happening again. We’re not all that pleased with the result!