A teenager who raped a 12-year-old schoolgirl after sending her a message on social media has avoided jail time.
Marijuana smoker Joseph Flynn, from Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside, was 16 when he contacted the girl, sent her a photo of his penis and lured her into his home.
Flynn, now 18, was spared jail despite being told in court he posed a high risk of re-offending, after his lawyer said the teen “didn’t understand consent.”
The teenager, who was also found with indecent images of children, including one depicting bestiality, was sentenced to a 12-month remand order at Liverpool Children’s Court on Wednesday.
The victim, now 14, said she had felt “lonely and vulnerable” but said she knows “he can’t do anything to me anymore.”
18-year-old Joseph Flynn (pictured) from Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside, raped a 12-year-old schoolgirl when she was 16 after sending her a message on social media, but avoided jail.
She went to therapy after the rape, which left her struggling in crowded places and doing activities alone.
She said: ‘I was flattered that he wanted to talk to me. I thought he was going to a friend’s house. I didn’t realize how dangerous that could have been.
She said at the time that she “felt like I had to protect him because I thought he was my friend” but has since realized that “what he did to me was wrong.”
Her mother said her daughter had been “looking for a connection” after being bullied at school.
Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of rape of a girl under the age of 13, three counts of making indecent images of children, one count of possession of indecent images of children and one count of possession of an extreme pornographic image depicting bestiality.
Flynn first spoke to the schoolgirl on social media in early 2021. When she questioned the age difference between them, Flynn said she was fine.
They talked, video called and sent sexual messages. When Flynn asked if the girl wanted to have sex with him, she answered ‘yes and no’ due to her age.
Flynn said he was “fit” and sent her a photo of his penis.
The court heard how the girl said that Flynn “never forced her to have sex and that she had said yes at the time.”
Flynn was interviewed in early 2021 and did not answer all the questions he was asked and was released on bail.
In November 2021, police raided her home and found a cache of indecent images and videos of children, including one involving bestiality.
Flynn accepted that the images were his and they were sent to him after he joined a group on Snapchat. He said that he thought he had deleted them.
The schoolgirl said she had sent images of herself to Flynn at his request, which were found on her phone.
The teenager, who was also found with a host of kinky photos of children, including one depicting bestiality, was sentenced to a 12-month remand order at Liverpool Juvenile Court (pictured) on Wednesday.
Frank Dylan, mitigating, said that his client did not understand about sex and consent and needed to be educated.
Although Flynn was assessed as being at high risk of recidivism, Dylan said this could change with the help of the juvenile offenders service.
He said Flynn had been extremely isolated after he was caught and that using marijuana had exacerbated mental health problems due to loneliness.
Dylan said: ‘We accept that there is an element of denial but a strong motivation to be involved in youth service.
“He expresses concern and empathy and acknowledges wrongdoing and regrets the whistleblower’s ordeal.”
He added that his client also accepted that as the older person involved, he should have been the one to stop any sexual activity.
Regarding the indecent images, Dylan said that Flynn initially viewed them out of curiosity, but accepts that he received some sexual gratification from them.
District Judge Clark said: ‘I think you were a 16-year-old boy who had been sexually active and you set the tone.
You’re more responsible than you let the juvenile delinquent team know. This is an example of how you take advantage of the situation.
‘There was a sexual motive and you took advantage of it because you were more experienced and sophisticated.
“You set the tone, you talked about sexual activity, you sent sexual images and you received sexual images and you already had images of a sexual nature on your phone.”
Flynn was sentenced to a 12-month referral order with the Youth Offenders Squad and will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order limiting his Internet access for five years. He will be subject to notification requirements.