Teenage victim of rapist spared jail after sickening child sexual assault left 'devastated' by his sentence

8 April 2023, 08:02

Sean Hogg was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow.
Sean Hogg was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: The Crown Prosecution Service

By Kit Heren

The teenage victim of a rapist who was spared jail because of his age is "inconsolable" after he was given a community sentence.

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The grandfather of the unnamed victim, who was just 13 when she was raped by Sean Hogg, himself 17 at the time, said he felt he had let her down by promising the law would take care of the situation.

Hogg, 21, was found guilty of her rape but walked free with 270 hours of unpaid because of a guideline in Scotland recommending people under 25 do not go to jail.

The rapist, of Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, was told by the judge that he would have been given four or five years in prison if he had been 25 or over.

“She was left inconsolable when she found out he’d been let out — absolutely devastated and distraught," her grandfather said.

Sean Hogg was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow
Sean Hogg was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: The Crown

“She said to me ‘you told me to go through with this, all this grief and stress, now look what’s happened’," he told the Sun.

"I promised her the law would protect her and she had to speak up to protect other girls. Now I feel like a fool.

"I feel like I’ve let her down and he’s got a few weeks picking up litter.”

The attacks took place in Dalkeith Country Park in Midlothian, Scotland between March and June 2018. Hogg attacked the victim on several occasions.

He assaulted the teenager by threatening her and pulling down her clothing. He then grabbed her by the wrists and raped her.

Sean Hogg was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow
Sean Hogg was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: Google Images

The grandfather added: “This has had a catastrophic effect. We’ve tried to build her up after this and now we’re back to square one.”

JK Rowling was among many outraged by the lack of jail time for Hogg.

The Harry Potter author said: "Progressive Scotland 2023, where a man gets no jail time for raping a 13-year-old   in a park.

"Young Scottish men are essentially being told ‘first time’s free’."

The victim's grandfather added: "We applauded every word JK Rowling said and welcomed the huge outrage the case has provoked."

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The sentencing has also sparked outrage among those in the legal and political professions, with Rape Crisis Scotland's CEO Sandy Brindley describing the sentencing as "worryingly lenient".

"This is an extremely serious case and we are shocked this perpetrator has not received a custodial sentence," she said.

"Given the gravity of this crime and the fact it was tried at the High Court, this sentence appears to us to be worryingly lenient.

"Our thoughts are with the survivor of this crime. For survivors of any sexual violence, it can be very difficult to see reports of convicted perpetrators walking free from court."

According to new guidance by the Scottish Sentencing Council - a body set up by SNP ministers in 2015 - criminals under the age of 25 are treated more leniently due to their "lower level of maturity".

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Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Jamie Greene said: "The lack of a prison sentence is a total insult to the young teenage victim in this case.

Read more: Outrage as man, 21, who raped girl, 13, in park walks free from court after judge considers him too young to be jailed

Read more: Leading barrister labels judge's decision 'bold' as rapist, 21, walks free

"It once again reaffirms how misguided the SNP's sentencing guidelines are in reality and how judges' hands are tied as a result."

A Scottish Sentencing Council spokesman said: "Sentencing guidelines are just that — guidelines.

"Where appropriate a judge can decide not to follow a guideline, but must give their reasons."