Sex attacker targeted primary school age boy at South Shields swimming pool
A troubled teenager targeted a primary school age boy at a swimming pool during a series of shocking sex offences.
The youth, who cannot be named, followed the young victim into a cubicle at the Haven Point, in South Shields, and asked him to engage in sexual activities.
At the time of the incident, last May, the teen was on bail for an attack on an even younger boy who he performed a sex act on at a secluded area. This little boy's behaviour has "changed" because of what happened to him.
Three months after the swimming cubicle scare, the 15-year-old targeted two primary school age girls, in two separate incidents, who he chased into bushes while they were playing out and kissed them on the lips.
At Newcastle Crown Court, the teen, who had accessed pornography on his mobile phone at a young age, pleaded guilty to five offences of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
The court heard the boy has been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, has ADHD and functions at a younger level than his true age.
The youth is now in care and has been described as "thriving" due to the structured and supportive environment he lives in.
Judge Robert Adams told him: "Your sexual age is older, your actual age younger. That has caused you difficulties in coping. You have struggled to cope with sexual urges.
"You have expressed remorse now for what you have done, which is a stark contrast to your original denials."
Judge Adams said it was a "lack of control" in the past that meant the the public, and the boy himself, were not protected from his own behaviour.
When considering the risk the boy poses, the judge said: "When not in a protected environment, the risk was fairly significant because of lack of control.
"However, within current confines, the level of risk is greatly reduced."
Judge Adams sentenced the boy to a youth rehabilitation order for three years and said he must sign the sex offenders register for three years.
He told the boy there was "no question" that the sentence was the most constructive way forward for "your welfare and the aim to stop offending in future".
The boy sat with his legal team during the court hearing and did not go into the dock.