After a man was found guilty of a disturbing crime, the judge ruled that the convicted criminal shouldn’t spend any time in jail because of the victim’s behavior.
While perusing dating app Tinder, Jachin Joshua Mascall matched with a profile and contacted the user to meet up for a date. The only problem is that Mascall was 20 years old and his intended hookup was a 12-year-old girl. Mascall traveled to London from Dunstable to spend two days with the girl, during which time the pair then had sex in various locations, including a parking lot in a shopping center.
When he was arrested, Mascall claimed he had no idea that the girl was a preteen child, arguing that he thought she was over 16 years of age, which is the legal age of consent in the UK. While the authorities weren’t buying his excuse, a local judge had more sympathy for Mascall than the child victim.
According to Daily Mail, Inner London Crown Court’s Judge Freya Newbery found Mascall guilty of three counts of raping a child under the age of 13 after he admitted to the acts. However, he was spared jail time and given a 3-year community service order with a requirement of 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay $600 in fines as well as complete 40 days of rehabilitation activity and 48 sessions of a program designed to enhance behavioral maturity.
Judge Newbery told the court that she didn’t believe jail was an appropriate sentence because Mascall was “immature” and that there was “no suggestion” that he had “any pedophile tendencies at all.”
“What there is instead is a young man who is relatively ordinary, immature and possibly naïve,” she said. “You said in your interview that you thought she was an adult because she was on Tinder saying she was an adult. And you’ve explained that because she had a car and a place to live that she was of course an adult. In other words, you didn’t know that she was 12 or that she was under 16. You were shocked to discover that she was so young when you were arrested.”
Judge Newbery proceeded to place blame on the child, arguing that the girl was being “sexually suggestive” on CCTV footage and led Mascall to believe she was much older.
“It shows that she wasn’t in distress while she was with you and at one point she seemed to act in a sexually suggestive way towards you,” she said. “She was undoubtedly a highly vulnerable child herself. She was sexualised and active on social media, including Tinder, pretending to be an adult. The law does exist to protect vulnerable people like her, even from themselves.”
Of course, the judge acknowledged that the girl couldn’t legally consent and that Mascall should have attempted to confirm her age. Still, she sympathized with the fact that he was kicked out of his parents’ home and has been trying to further his education.
“He has applied to Birmingham University to do a culinary arts degree. He had never come before the criminal courts before he pleaded guilty to these matters. He comes from a very close and supportive family. They are fully aware of the facts of this case but have continued to support him.”
The judge addressed critics, arguing that, while some might wonder how Mascall couldn’t have known the girl was underage, the man is immature for his age.
“Some people unfamiliar with the case might ask, why would you believe she was over 16? What I do know is that you were described by the first probation officer as presenting as immature even for your young age. This is an exceptional case where exploitation is absent.”
The judge has received criticism for her ruling. However, even the prosecution agreed that the sentence was appropriate given the circumstances.
It’s hard to believe even an “immature” adult male could mistake a 12-year-old girl for someone over the age of 16. Furthermore, no one is holding the parents of the girl responsible for their failures in the matter.
Regardless of the child’s behavior, she is still just a child. She cannot legally consent because she doesn’t possess the psychological capacity to foresee the consequences. Tragically, everyone on all sides has failed to protect the child’s best interests.