Sean Hogg: Rape Crisis Scotland criticises 'worryingly lenient' sentence of man who raped 13-year-old

A major charity has spoken out against the sentence of a man who raped a girl in Dalkeith Country Park.
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A major Scottish charity has spoken out against the “worryingly lenient” sentence of a man found guilty of rape. Sean Hogg was handed 270 hours of unpaid work after the attack in Dalkeith Country Park in 2018, as well as being placed under supervision and put on the sex offenders' register for three years

Court papers state Hogg, who was 17 at the time of the attack, threatened his victim, a 13-year-old girl, and pulled down her lower clothing. Hogg, of Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, then seized her by the wrists, caused the girl to carry out a sex act on him, and raped her.

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Responding to the sentence, Rape Crisis Scotland said: “We are shocked the perpetrator of the rape of a 13-year-old girl has not received a custodial sentence. This is an extremely serious case. Given the gravity of this crime and the fact it was tried at the High Court, this sentence appears to us to be worryingly lenient.

Sean Hogg: Rape Crisis Scotland has spoken out after rapist given community service in 'worryingly lenient' sentenceSean Hogg: Rape Crisis Scotland has spoken out after rapist given community service in 'worryingly lenient' sentence
Sean Hogg: Rape Crisis Scotland has spoken out after rapist given community service in 'worryingly lenient' sentence

“Our thoughts are with the survivor of this crime. For survivors of any sexual violence, it can be very difficult to see reports of convicted perpetrators walking free from court.”

Sentencing him yesterday, Judge Lord Lake told the man he was escaping jail because of his age at the time of the incident. He said: “I have to consider your liability and have regard to your age as a factor…You are a first offender with no previous history of prison – you are 21 and were 17 at the time. Prison does not lead me to believe this will contribute to your rehabilitation."

New guidelines were introduced in January 2021 which make rehabilitation rather than punishment a primary consideration when sentencing under 25s. At the time, the Scottish Sentencing Council said the new rules were based on "compelling scientific evidence on the development of cognitive maturity." It said someone under the age of 25 would "generally have a lower level of maturity, and a greater capacity for change and rehabilitation, than an older person." Donald Findlay KC, defending, told the sentencingan appeal is planned.

Rape Crisis Scotland helpline: 08088 01 03 02

Scottish Women’s Aid helpline: 0800 027 1234

Samaritans: 116 123