Woman who had sex with 14-year-old boy three times spared prison sentence


A woman who had sex with a 14-year-old boy she met online has been spared prison.

Sophie Johnson engaged in sexual activity with the schoolboy on three occasions within the space of a few days, a court heard.

Newcastle Crown Court heard she had ignored warnings about his age and failed to take steps to ensure he was over 16.

However, once she realised how young he was, she stopped what was happening between them.

The court heard Johnson, 22, who is immature for her age, began communicating with the lad online and they swapped messages before meeting.

Gavin Doig, prosecuting, said: “The prosecution case is Miss Johnson did not reasonably believe he was 16 or over and took no steps to find out his age.

“The basis of plea is when she found out his age she stopped the sexual contact, which is accepted.

“She ignored the warnings of others but when she found out his age, she desisted.”

Mr Doig said there appears to have been “genuine affection” between them and the sexual activity only happened over a short period of time.

The boy did not provide a victim impact statement and while he cooperated with the prosecution, he did not wish to provide any further information, the court heard.

Johnson, of Normanton Terrace, Elswick, Newcastle, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual activity with a child and was sentenced to a three year community order and must sign the sex offenders register for five years.

Sentencing her, Judge Sarah Mallett said: “This was a relationship of mutual affection, there was no pressure applied or grooming of any sort.

“These proceedings have obviously had a significant effect on you and you have been the victim of a serious offence yourself during that time.

“You have had to leave your home and family and lost your job as a result of this offending and I accept you are remorseful.”

The judge said there are issues about Johnson’s future employment in “what was your chosen field”.

She added: “You have experienced significant punishment in one way or another as a result of the offences.

“That’s not to put aside the effect of offences like this on their victim but there is no victim personal statement and I understand he has tried to make further contact with you.

“I hope there will be no long term harmful effects on the boy.”

Penny Hall, defending, said Johnson “has difficulties” and added: “She did not do enough but when she found out about the age, she stopped any sexual contact.

“There was mutual genuine affection and there was no grooming or anything of that sort.

“The proceedings have affected her for the period of time they have been hanging over her.

“She’s a young lady who presents with a maturity level much younger than her age and she has her own vulnerabilities.

“She’s remorseful and embarrassed and your honour can be confident that the court will not see her again.

“She’s lost her career, had to leave her home area where her family are and her mental health has deteriorated and this has been hanging over her for a lengthy period of time.”