Crime

Prosecutor Calls 13-Year-Old Sex Abuse Victim ‘Predatory,’ ‘Sexually Experienced’

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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Neil Wilson was given a suspended jail sentence Monday after his attorney, Robert Colover, argued that the 13-year-old girl Wilson sexually abused “is predatory in all her actions, and she is sexually experienced.”

Wilson, 41, pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a minor and two counts of making “extreme pornographic images,” according to the BBC.

Judge Nigel Peters said that during sentencing the fact that the prosecution accused the victim of acting older than her age was taken into consideration. Wilson's eight-month jail term was then suspended for two years.

Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) garnered a great deal of criticism about Colover’s remarks. A petition was started on Change.org called “Stop Victim Blaming” asks CPS to review the incident.

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The petition, which has more than 40,000 signatures, says, “I’m calling on the Crown Prosecution Service to look at the language used by Robert Colover and meet urgently with our organization and other groups working with victims of rape and sexual assault to ensure this never happens again.”

The CPS said Wednesday that Colover’s remarks were “a real concern.” Colover has been taken off of sexual assault cases until the CPS can conduct a full investigation.

"The language used by prosecution counsel was inappropriate,” said a spokesman for CPS. "The transgressor in this case was the defendant and he bears responsibility for his criminal acts."

Officials have also discussed filing complaints against the judge. According to the Attorney General’s Office, the sentencing might be “unduly lenient.”

"This means it'll be considered by a law officer [the attorney or solicitor general] who will decide whether it should be referred to the Court of Appeal under the unduly lenient sentence scheme,” said the Attorney General Officer in a statement.

Alan Wardle, of the The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), commented on the case to BBC Radio 4's Today program.

"The age of consent in this country is 16, before that a child cannot consent," Wardle said. "As a society we have drawn a line in the sand on that. In this case, the child was 13 and the man was 41  it's pretty clear who the predator was."

Blaming the victim is not something that happens just across the pond. A defense attorney in Louisiana argued this week that a 14-year-old girl who was raped by a prison guard while incarcerated must have consented to sex. The age of consent in Louisiana is 17 years old.

Sources: Newser, BBC