Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Teen avoids prison after sex attack on woman he met online

A teenager who sexually assaulted a “vulnerable” woman he met through the internet has walked free from court after his 18-month prison sentence was suspended for three years.

Andrew Mundy (19) was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years after being convicted of assaulting a 20-year-old, who he had originally been accused of raping.

Belfast Crown Court Judge Patrick Lynch told the teen that had he been convicted of the rape, which he was originally charged with, he would have faced between five and eight years in jail.

The judge said that although his victim was a year older than Mundy, she was “naive and vulnerable” — factors which Mundy “took advantage of”.

“To put it mildly, you behaved in a callous and totally inhumane way towards her,” he said, adding: “You dealt with her as a sexual object on this afternoon; you took advantage of the position she was in and then you simply ignored her. That says little about you as an individual and a person, irrespective of the criminality you have been convicted of.”

At the end of his trial last February, Mundy, from Irwin Crescent in east Belfast, was convicted of sexually assaulting the woman on September 9, 2009.

The jury, however, were “hopelessly split” on an allegation that Mundy raped her. That charge has been left on the books.

During the week-long hearing, Mundy's 20-year-old victim told the court how she engaged with him through an internet chat room before meeting for the first time on September 7, 2009 when they walked around Victoria Park in the east of the city. At that time Mundy told her “I bring people in here and rape them”, but later said that it was just a joke.

Two days later, however, the jury heard she met Mundy again, and this time he sexually assaulted her by touching her inappropriately before having sex with her.

She claimed that Mundy had raped her, but, giving evidence on his own behalf, Mundy counter-claimed that the woman had consented to sex.

Handing down sentence yesterday, Judge Lynch said that he accepted that the teenager was “not a sexual predator” who posed a danger to other women.

As well as the suspended 18-month term, Mundy was ordered to sign the police sex offenders’ register for the next 10 years and left the court with a warning from Judge Lynch that “you cannot afford to get on the wrong side of the law for the rest of your life”.

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