‘Why did I even bother reporting the rape in the first place?’ Teenage victim of 21-year-old rapist who was spared jail because he’s too young for prison, says she ‘couldn’t breathe’ when he walked free from court
- Sean Hogg, then 17, raped the 13-year-old in Dalkeith Country Park, in Midlothian
- He escaped a prison sentence after the judge gave him a community order
The teenage victim of a rapist who was spared jail because a judge deemed him too young to go to prison said she ‘couldn’t breathe’ when she heard his sentence.
The girl was 13 years old when she was raped by Sean Hogg, who was then 17, in Dalkeith Country Park in Midlothian.
Earlier this month Hogg, who is now 21 years old, was spared prison because his sentencing judge at the High Court in Glasgow said his age at the time of the offence had to be taken into account.
Instead he ordered Hogg, of Hamilton, Lanarkshire, to undergo 270 hours of unpaid work, sparking outrage and calls to review sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors have said they are considering appealing it being ‘unduly lenient’.
Current guidance advises custodial sentences should be imposed only on those under the age of 25, if no other sentence is appropriate.
Sean Hogg, pictured here outside the High Court in Glasgow, avoided a prison sentence despite raping a 13-year-old girl
A judge at the High Court in Glasgow (pictured) ordered Hogg, of Hamilton, Lanarkshire, to undergo 270 hours of unpaid work, sparking outrage and calls to review sentencing guidelines.
His victim, who is now 18, said she has been left wondering why he was allowed to walk out of court after her life had been ‘ruined’.
The teenager, now 18, told the Sunday Mail when she heard his sentence: ‘My anxiety went so bad, I felt I couldn’t breathe, in my head I thought he was going to come for me, he was going to want to hurt me.
‘I was back to being that 13-year-old wee girl, scared of the unknown.
‘Now it makes me think why did I even bother reporting the rape in the first place,’ she added.
‘Many girls will see what’s happened to me and think well why bother reporting rape, nothing will happen anyway.
‘Is this the message we want to send out to girls, to children and women who are sexually assaulted and raped?’
READ MORE HERE: JK Rowling slams 21-year-old rapist’s sentence after he was spared jail for attacking girl, 13, because he’s too young for prison under Nicola Sturgeon’s justice reforms
Her lawyer, Aamer Anwar, tweeted: ‘My client and her family believe a failure to appeal 270 hours community service sentence for her rape by Sean Hogg would be a serious breach of justice by Crown Office.’
A spokesperson for Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service told the newspaper: ‘The Crown is currently considering whether there are grounds for lodging an appeal against this sentence.’
Since he was allowed to walk free from court, it has been revealed that Hogg fathered two children while he was awaiting trial.
Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Jamie Greene said the decision not to jail Hogg for raping a young girl sparked ‘understandable outrage’ across the country.
‘The revelation that he fathered children himself makes it all the more perplexing that he avoided prison on the grounds of being too young in the eyes of the sentencing guidelines,’ he said.
‘It’s absurd – and offensive to his victim – that Hogg has been spared jail simply for being under 25 because of an arbitrary guideline which the general public rightly feel is as unfair as it is irrational.’
He added: ‘SNP Ministers have the power to set the direction of travel of justice. That starts with giving judges the absolute and unimpeded power to impose sentences that are entirely appropriate to the crime committed.’
At trial, Hogg was found guilty of pouncing on the vulnerable teenager at Dalkeith Country Park on a number of occasions between March and June 2018.
This month he appeared at the High Court in Glasgow to be sentenced. Although Hogg committed a serious crime and was convicted by a jury, the judge decided not to send him to prison because of his age and instead issued a community sentence.
New guidelines for sentencing criminals under the age of 25 were introduced in Scotland in January last year.
Rather than focusing on punishment, the guidelines made rehabilitation the priority and recommend that judges take an ‘individualistic approach’, considering offenders’ life experiences.
In Hogg’s case, Judge Lord Lake said rape was ‘one of the most serious crimes’ and that the victim’s age and vulnerabilities were ‘aggravating factors’. However, he told Hogg: ‘I have to consider your liability and have regard to your age as a factor.
‘For this offence, if committed by an adult over 25, you attract a sentence of four or five years.
‘I don’t consider that appropriate and don’t intend to send you to prison.
‘You are a first offender with no previous history of prison – you are 21 and were 17 at the time.’
As well as being sentenced to 270 hours of community work, Hogg was also placed under supervision and on the sex offenders register for three years.
Ellie Wilson (pictured), who was raped by Daniel McFarlane between December 2017 and February 2018, called the sentence for Hogg ‘absolutely appalling’
Denise Clair (pictured), who brought a civil case against footballers David Goodwillie and David Robertson, said the sentence ‘is not justice’
The sentence sparked outcry, with rape victim Ellie Wilson, who has previously waived her anonymity, describing it as ‘absolutely appalling, an insult’.
‘All it is going to do is discourage victims and survivors from wanting to come forward,’ Ms Wilson added.
‘I do not see how it is appropriate to hand down a community payback order for rape, there are some crimes – rape being one of them – which require adequate punishment, and that punishment can only be in prison.’
Rape victim Denise Clair, who brought a civil case against footballers David Goodwillie and David Robertson and has previously waived her anonymity, described Hogg’s sentence as an ’embarrassment to the Scottish justice system’ and said it was ‘extremely deflating’ for victims.
She said the crime has the same devastating impact no matter the rapist’s age, telling the BBC: ‘This is not justice.’
And JK Rowling also hit out at the community sentence given to Hogg – saying young Scottish men are ‘effectively being told “first time’s free”.’
Rowling tweeted a news article on Hogg’s sentence with the caption: ‘Progressive Scotland 2023, where a man gets no jail time for raping a 13-year-old girl in a park.
‘Young Scottish men are effectively being told “first time’s free”.’
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