Belfast Telegraph

Teenage boy raped in Co Tyrone

A teenage boy has been raped in a sexual attack in Co Tyrone.

Police have appealed for information about the assault on the youth in a tunnel between the Johnston car park and Festival park area in Omagh town centre at about 4am on Saturday.

The tunnel is used as a main thoroughfare between Omagh town and a number of residential estates. It is understood there have been a number of sexual assaults on males in the town over the past 18 months — some of which haven’t been reported to police.

Declan McAleer, chairman of Omagh council, described it as “an absolutely horrific crime to inflict on a teenager walking home”.

“As a member of the District Policing Partnership (DPP) in the area, this is a subject that I intend to raise with the PSNI at a local level to try and catch the culprit and prevent any similar attacks,” Mr McAleer said.

The attack was also condemned by Ulster Unionist councillor for Omagh Town, Ross Hussey, who is secretary of the Kevlin Community and Development Association which covers the area of the incident.

“Everybody is shocked,” Mr Hussey said. “The tunnel is used by everybody coming from the town centre to the various estates. It is just down the road from where I live. Any right-thinking person would condemn a sexual attack.”

Mr Hussey said he would not have expected such a crime to take place in the tunnel. “There has been some anti-social behaviour in the tunnel and young people drinking, but it is not an area where people would normally congregate,” he said. “I hope the police catch those responsible.”

The Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre said that it is approached by “an increasing number of younger adult males for help”. The centre provides counselling and support to anyone in Northern Ireland who has been affected by sexual violence. For support or information contact 9032 9002.

Meanwhile, a 25-year-old man has been charged with raping a 74-year-old woman in the Ballymena area of Co Antrim on Saturday. The man has also been charged with aggravated burglary, possession of cannabis, and a breach of an interim sexual offences prevention order. He is due to appear at Coleraine Magistrates Court today.

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