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Man admits touching 12-year-old girl

Magistrates' Court (File photograph)

A 24-year-old Devonshire man was remanded in custody yesterday after he admitted repeatedly sexually exploiting a 12-year-old girl.

Shundray Gilbert pleaded guilty in Magistrates’ Court to three counts of touching the pre-teen for a sexual purpose while in a position of trust.

All of the incidents took place between August 5, 2015, and July 10, 2016, at which time Gilbert was 19.

The court heard that the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was asleep in her family living room when she was awakened by Gilbert touching her.

She told him to stop and he did so, but repeated the behaviour on subsequent nights with his contact gradually escalating over a period of months.

The victim did not tell anyone about Gilbert’s actions until last year, when her parents took the case to the police.

Gilbert was subsequently arrested and admitted the offences to the police when questioned.

While the court heard the Crown had no objections to bail with conditions pending his sentence, senior magistrate Juan Wolffe said the facts of the case suggested that Gilbert should be remanded into custody.

Mr Wolffe said: “The defendant has pleaded guilty to some extremely serious offences.

“The young victim in this case, who at the time of the offences was 12, has no doubt experienced very disturbing incidents multiple times over a lengthy period.”

He ordered a social inquiry report and a sexual offenders report and remanded Gilbert until March 24 for sentencing.

A spokeswoman for Saving Children and Revealing Secrets, a charity dedicated to protecting children from abuse, applauded the victim and her parents for bringing the case to the police.

She said: “Scars is incredibly proud of the child for revealing, because most victims don’t tell.

“We are also very grateful to her parents for reacting responsibly.

“Our hope is that the child and her family can begin their healing process and that this young offender is offered the best possible treatment at Westgate so that he comes out changed and no risk to children.”

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.