A Canberra teen who molested a child at a daycare business has been given a suspended jail sentence.
The boy, who cannot be named as he is a juvenile, pleaded guilty in the ACT Children’s Court to committing an act of indecency and sexual intercourse with a child under 10.
The court heard the 14-year-old, who suffers from Asperger’s disorder and ADHD, was home from school in November last year.
His mother worked at a child daycare business and was caring for the five-year-old victim on the day.
The mother alerted the authorities a week later when the victim talked about the boy’s penis.
The victim told police about the incident and boy admitted to the assault in March.
A victim impact statement said the victim had suffered no physical damage, but the psychological impact of the assault was not yet known.
A presentence report revealed the boy was not anti-social or pro-criminal, but struggled to empathise and understand the seriousness of his offending.
The report author said the boy had been curious about girls and sex but did not have the confidence to approach girls at his school.
The boy admitted thinking about committing such an offence for weeks beforehand but had not had the opportunity to enact a plan.
The report rated him a low risk of reoffending, but the author was concerned “due to his impulsivity he is a risk of making similar errors of judgment”.
The prosecution argued the offence was premeditated, an abuse of a position of trust, and submitted the boy should be sentenced to jail.
But the defence argued the offence had been opportunistic, not planned.
Magistrate Karen Fryar sentenced the boy to one year jail, fully suspended upon entering an 18-month good-behaviour order.
Ms Fryar handed down her decision in June, and the judgment was published this week.
“It is clear from the evidence before me that his lack of empathy, which is a consequence of his Asperger’s Disorder, was a contributing factor in the commission of these offences,” Ms Fryar said.
“It is also clear in my view that as a result, his condition somewhat diminishes his moral culpability for the offences.
“Further, because of his age and mental condition, he is simply not an appropriate vehicle for the purpose of general deterrence in sentencing.”