Babysitter spared jail after sex charges involving boy in her care

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A woman babysitter who forced a 13-year-old boy to carry out sex acts on her at a onesie party before sending him a number of explicit Facebook messages has been spared prison but put under a night-time curfew.

Mary-Ellen Mooney rubbed the boy’s thigh and kissed him before putting his hand down her knickers while babysitting him, a court heard.

Mooney committed the sex acts on three separate occasions during an evening looking after the boy - who, each time, dashed up the stairs to tell a pal who was playing computer games what had happened.

Then two days later she sent him Facebook messages where she referred to the youngster as “babe”, saying that she had “a real soft spot” for him and believed the boy had “a hidden talent.”

Mooney was attacked by an incensed family member of the boy at her home after the offences came to light, Amersham Crown Court heard.

Mooney was arrested and charged with two offences, which she initially denied before finally admitting her guilt on what was meant to be the morning of her trial.

Her victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had already come to court ready to give evidence against his babysitter at the trial, which was scheduled to take place last month.

Mooney, now aged 19 years, looked on from the court dock and showed no emotion as she was handed a suspended jail sentence today/yesterday (Tues).

The offences were committed at the boy’s home over the weekend of January 10-11, when Mooney was aged 18.

Graham Smith, prosecuting, said she found her victim and his friend in his bedroom playing computer games when she arrived to babysit. Noticing they were both wearing onesies, she suggested having a onesie party and went back home to change into hers.

When she returned she suggested watching a film downstairs. Mooney’s victim agreed to come and watch with her, but the friend stayed upstairs in the bedroom playing video games.

Mr Smith told the court: “She started touching him on his upper thigh. He asked her to stop, which she did, before pretending she had been winding him up.

“She put on the music channel and started dancing. She then sat on top of him, straddling him face to face. She then kissed him on the lips. He described it as open and closed mouth, but with no tongues. He didn’t feel like he wanted to kiss her back.

“She got up and went to get a drink. The complainant went upstairs and told his friend what had happened. [The friend] said it was disgusting.”

Two days later, he said, Mooney sent a number of sexually explicit messages to the boy through Facebook.

The court was told the messages read: “We should meet up, just me and you. Keep it hush hush - don’t tell [the friend].

“You are fairly mature for your age and you’re not bad looking. I have got a really soft spot for you, babe. I think you have a hidden talent. I think you could handle me.

“You are going to take control of me and show your dominant side.

During the exchange she also said she “could get into trouble” if anyone else read the messages.

Mooney was arrested nearly a week later after the boy’s family complained to the police. In interview she claimed the boy said he wanted to smoke cannabis, before saying he had instigated the sexual activity, Mr Smith told the court.

Sophie Murray, defending, said: “She has had to cope throughout her young life with her personal circumstances of very poor parenting. There was an absent father and her mother an alcoholic. She was the carer within the family for her mother, whose alcoholism at times was very bad. She subsequently died when she [Mooney] was 13.

“She hasn’t, despite that very dysfunctional upbringing, until now committed any other crimes. She has had jobs and hasn’t sought reliance on the State for income.”

She said Mooney had held jobs at a branch of Starbucks and at a telemarketing company but had lost both of them since her offending came to light.

Miss Murray said: “She has a capacity to work and look after herself and to prove that she can be a contributing member of society.

“She has accepted her guilt. She is deeply shameful and guilt-ridden about what has happened.”

Judge Karen Holt, sitting at Amersham Crown Court, said: “You were trusted to be the babysitter. You clearly knew what you were doing was wrong.

“The law reflects the seriousness of this abuse of trust on a child so young. As far as you are concerned, it is right I take into account the background - you have a sad background. You have not got into trouble despite your poor parenting.”

On count one, of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, Mooney was given a two year prison sentence suspended for two years. She must be supervised throughout the two years, undertake 100 hours of unpaid work and be the subject of a three month curfew between 7pm and 6am.

On count two - of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, relating to the Facebook messages - she was given a concurrent 12 month sentence, which was suspended for two years.

Mooney, of Black Heath Cresent, Bradwell Common, was also made the subject of a five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, banning her from unsupervised contact with boys under the age of 16, and has been placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years.