12-year-old's plea to judge: Why did you free man who raped me?

A SCHOOLGIRL has told how she was devastated to learn the man who raped her had been allowed to walk free from court.

Sunday, 6th August 2017, 12:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:32 am
Daniel Cieslak (right) walked free from court.

The 12-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reason, has written a heartbreaking letter, published by the Sunday Mail today.

In it, she said she had little memory of the night in July 2015 and feared her attacker had sex with her while she was unconscious.

Daniel Cieslak, 21, had sex with the youngster at a flat in Gorgie after meeting her at a taxi rank. He admitted rape but told a court how she thought the girl was 16.

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He was given an absolute discharge in court having claimed the 12-year-old had been an “active participant”.

In the letter today, the girl writes: “The guy Daniel said he didn’t know my age. I can barely remember that night.

“I have flashbacks, images ever since.

“I had passed out in the living room then I remember him picking me up, and then wakening up in a bed.

“It was said that I consented but how can someone consent when they can’t even talk? Before this happened, I was confident, happy, always had a smile on my face without trying. And now I fake a smile.

“I suffer from anxiety, depression, I take tablets to help me sleep. I even tried to commit suicide because I was barely holding it together.

“I have had a lot of low points. Then I found out he pled guilty and I didn’t have to go to court. My family and I celebrated.

“Then he walked free, nothing at all. I was devastated.”

Cieslak was said to have burst into tears when police revealed her true age.

Sentencing earlier this year, Lady Scott said she had decided “justice is best served” by taking the “wholly exceptional decision” to give Cieslak an absolute discharge.

She told the court the statutory rape offence had a “very wide scope” with, as a result, a “variation” in sentencing.

The judge went on: “The fact the Lord Advocate decided it was in the public interest in bringing this prosecution does not limit my discretion in deciding the appropriate disposal.”

She said the purpose of the offence was to “protect young girls” – but added there were “exceptional circumstances” in this case. The number of factors included Cieslak – and other witnesses – believing the victim was 16 or older. Lady Scott said the 12 year-old was also an “active participant” in sexual activity and that there was no suggestion of “predatory conduct” or grooming. The judge concluded: “I am satisfied you have been subject to considerable pressure and distress from the burden of this prosecution.

“I do not consider there is any need – or public interest – in punishment.”

The girl’s mother told the Sunday Mail today: “We were relieved when he pled guilty because it meant (she) wouldn’t have to go to court.

“But we couldn’t believe it when told what his sentence was.

“She asked me, ‘What happens now mum?’ I told her, ‘Basically nothing, darling.’ She asked, ‘So he’s just walked free?’ “She knows she shouldn’t have been in town with her friend. For weeks she said, ‘It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have been there.’ But now she’s at the angry stage.

“She wants to know why his side was taken. She now wishes that she could have stood up in court and told a jury what happened.

“Daniel Cieslak never asked her what age she was. But it doesn’t matter what age she looked.

“I don’t know if she looked older than she was and she shouldn’t have been out at that time. But what happened to her wasn’t consensual.”