Paedophile who groomed and raped 12-year-old girl jailed for 15 years
A RAPIST groomed his 12-year-old victim by telling her she was special and assured her she would get used to having sex with him, a court heard.
Damien Stephenson was jailed for 15 years at Bolton Crown Court yesterday after a jury convicted him of twice raping the girl.
The 32-year-old knew the child has a crush on him and “exploited” this, Bolton Crown Court heard.
Stephenson, of Third Avenue, Little Lever, had denied the offences but was found guilty following a seven-day trial.
Judge Peter Davies commented that the child was an impressionable girl who just wanted to be liked.
The court heard the girl was invited to stay at Stephenson’s home.
Stephenson had started grooming her days earlier, telling her he would like to have sex with her and he would find opportunities to be alone with her.
“You complimented her and kissed her. She was impressed by you and I am sure you made her feel special and important,” said Judge Davies.
“Thus, you were manipulating her in the hope you could have sex with her. In short, you groomed her.”
The jury was told how, on the Saturday afternoon, the girl was helping Stephenson move bedding and furniture.
“She was innocently enthusiastic for your company and she did not realise what you intended,” Judge Davies told him.
Stephenson asked the girl for sex and persisted when she refused.
She thought he was joking — but then he told her to trust him, removed her clothes, put on a condom and raped her.
The girl, confused and not wanting to provoke questions by asking to leave, stayed at the house for the rest of the weekend.
But Stephenson did not regret what he had done and preyed on her again that night while his partner was asleep upstairs.
The girl was sleeping in the living room, babysitting a three-year-old boy, when Stephenson, confident the rest of the house was asleep, crept downstairs and sat her on his knee.
He pinned her hands down on a rug and raped her without a condom.
Afterwards he made her promise not to tell police or anyone else.
Judge Davies told Stephenson: “The child was terrified of you. The impact these offences has had on her has been profound.
“You have shown no remorse or concern for what you did. Your only purpose was your own sexual gratification and you succeeded in corrupting an innocent young girl.”
He added that the rapes were aggravated by the age difference between Stephenson and the girl, the abuse of trust and his grooming of her.
“Although I am satisfied that she had a crush on you there can be no question of consent here either in law or in fact,” Judge Davies told Stephenson.
“You twice forced yourself upon, and overpowered, a vulnerable, impressionable girl you knew to be only 12. If she was distressed after the first incident, she was terrified when you raped her again.”
Judge Davies also banned Stephenson from working with children or vulnerable adults in the future and made an indefinite sexual offences prevention order prohibiting him from having contact with under 16-year-olds except when approved by social services.
The girl’s family were in court to see Stephenson sentenced and afterwards the child’s father stated: “He got what he deserved.”