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‘Young women seduce older men for sport’

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A lawyer told the Supreme Court that “young women” seduced older men for “sport” as he argued for a lighter sentence for a client who had sex with a 13-year-old schoolgirl.

Charles Richardson was speaking yesterday after Chez Rogers, 20, earlier pleaded guilty to the offence and to luring the girl.

Mr Richardson said his client understood that it was wrong to have had sex with the child and have sexual conversations online with her.

But he added: “I think our sentencing procedures need to take into account the reality of what happens in Bermuda.

“Young women actively pursue older men and they lie to them. He was led to believe she was older than she was, but it's not a defence because of her age.”

Mr Richardson said: “Maybe there should be some statute against the young women who do this.

“They know better, they do. At what point will they be held accountable?”

He told the court the victim had also been in contact with other men, but Rogers was the only one who had been identified.

Rogers pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges that he lured and had unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of 14 between August 1 and October 1 last year.

The Supreme Court heard that Rogers was 19 at the time and the victim — who cannot be identified for legal reasons — was 13.

Cindy Clarke, the Deputy Director of the Department of Public Prosecutions, said the offences were discovered when the girl's mother checked the child's phone and social-media messages.

She discovered a series of sexual messages between the girl and Rogers.

The mother also learnt that her daughter had left home at night to meet the defendant.

Police later interviewed the girl and she said the pair had sexual contact on more than one occasion in the Ord Road area.

Rogers was arrested and admitted that he had messaged the girl and had sex with her on two occasions.

The maximum sentence for unlawful carnal knowledge is 25 years in prison and luring carries a maximum sentence of ten years.

Ms Clarke said Rogers was young, had no previous convictions and had admitted the offence at the earliest opportunity.

But she called for a sentence of between three and four years in prison. She said there was “no excuse” for his behaviour and that the sentence had to hammer home the seriousness of the offence.

But Mr Richardson said that a sentence that length was “manifestly excessive” and suggested a period of eight to 18 months.

He added that Rogers was aware he was responsible for his actions and that he would spend time behind bars for it.

But he said the court needed to consider all the circumstances of the case.

Mr Richardson added: “While I accept that the purpose of laws like this is to protect young women from themselves, we have to accept that things do not remain static.

“It has become sport for young girls to see if they can have sex with an older guy.

“I'm not trying to deny liability, but we have to take into account all considerations.”

Ms Clarke said that the behaviour of young women had not changed and that girls had climbed out of windows to meet men “since Rapunzel had hair”.

But she added that society had become more aware of the need to protect young people from predators prepared to take advantage of them.

Ms Clarke said: “We are now in a situation where society expects us to take care of our children.

“The country is not moving towards a place of being more lenient. We are looking more to make sure there is proper denunciation of this behaviour.”

Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons adjourned the case until Monday for sentencing.

It is The Royal Gazette's policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

Mitigation plea: defence lawyer Charles Richardson

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Published July 11, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 11, 2020 at 7:35 am)

‘Young women seduce older men for sport’

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