Horrified doesn't begin to describe the public outcry in Britain after a judge handed out an eight-month suspended sentence to a 41-year-old man who admitted to having sex with a 13-year-old girl. Not only that, but the judge called the girl "predatory."
After admitting the crime and also being found in possession of images of child abuse and bestiality, Neil Wilson was handed the light sentence from Judge Nigel Peters, according to Slate. What was particularly egregious to child victim advocates and other members of the public were the comments made by Peters in defense of his decision.
Wilson was told by Judge Nigel Peters that he had taken account [of] the fact his child victim looked older during sentencing at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday.
He added: “You have come as close to prison as is imaginable. I have taken in to account that even though the girl was 13, the prosecution [says] she looked and behaved a little bit older…. On these facts, the girl was predatory and was egging you on…”
That was based on a statement from the prosecutor, barrister Robert Colover of the Crown Prosecution Service, who said, "The girl is predatory in all her actions, and she is sexually experienced."
After people read about the outcome, an online petition was created, asking that the CPS look into the matter. According to Slate, the petition garnered more than 30,000 signatures in just over a day.
"By Thursday, the CWS had publicly acknowledged that Colover's comments were inappropriate and said they would keep the barrister from taking part in any future sex-abuse cases until the matter is reviewed," according to the site. The judge's comments also will be reviewed, and the attorney general will decide if the case should be appealed.
Prime Minister David Cameron also called the comments inappropriate, saying that the victim "should always be at the center of our thinking," according to Slate.
This isn't the first time a British judge has made offensive comments during sexual abuse cases.
Earlier this year, according to ITV, Judge Peter Bowers declined jailing a pedophile because he said the man would "have a hard time" in prison.
A few months ago, Judge Mark Lucraft opted not to send a pedophile to jail for abusing a 7- and 8-year-old because it would cause his family "suffering," according to ITV.