- The 63-year-old man pleaded guilty to numerous counts of indecent assault involving three victims
- The man could only be dealt with according to the law at the time he committed the "dreadful" crimes, the judge says
- The man was a teenager in the '70s when he sexually abused the victims, who were children at the time
A 63-year-old man in England avoided jail time despite admitting to sexually abusing three children several decades ago when he was a teenager.
Steven Kelsey pleaded guilty to numerous counts of indecent assault, which Teesside Crown Court heard robbed the three unnamed victims of their childhoods, Hartlepool Mail reported.
Kelsey was sentenced to a three-year community order with supervision and 30 rehabilitation days.
The Canwick Road, Lincoln, resident was also put on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years, made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for the same length and given an indefinite restraining order against the victims.
Judge Christoper Smith described it as one of the most tragic cases he had ever heard.
However, the judge said he was limited in the sentence he could pass because Kelsey could only be dealt with according to the law at the time he committed the "dreadful" crimes. The offenses were committed decades ago when Kelsey was still a juvenile.
The maximum sentence for indecent assault at the time was just six months in prison.
The judge said that Kelsey likely would have died in prison had he been tried as an adult when the offenses were committed. Smith also said that a teenager being tried for such offenses today would expect to go to prison for quite a long time.
The judge said that Kelsey would be released within weeks if he were jailed now. There would be a "worrying lack" of supervision from the probation service afterward, Smith explained.
"Your case relates to your own crimes committed by yourself when you were a teenager,” Smith stated. "If you were a teenager, you would be going to prison for some time, but that was not the position in the 1970s."
"However unjust that must seem to an outside observer, I must follow the law as it was then," he added.
Testimonies by each of Kelsey's three victims were read in court.
One of the victims said that Kelsey had robbed them of their sanity, while another victim said that they suffered severe psychological distress from the abuse.
"This is without doubt one of the most tragic cases I have heard for many years," the judge said. "The impact of what you did to [the victims] has followed them into their adult lives, and their courage in the face of that considerable and lasting adversity is frankly humbling."
In related news, a 22-year-old man in Lincoln, Nebraska, was charged with two felonies Thursday after he was accused of touching an elementary school-aged girl inappropriately, police said.
Isaac Sanchez was charged with third-degree sexual assault of a child and felony child abuse.
Investigator Tyler Nitz said the incident allegedly occurred during a sleepover at a central Lincoln apartment on April 29, the Lincoln Journal Star reported, citing the affidavit for Sanchez's arrest.
The unnamed girl told police on May 5 that she allegedly awoke to Sanchez pressing himself against her, according to the affidavit. Sanchez then allegedly pulled her pants down, the girl told investigators.
Sanchez is currently being held at the Lancaster County Jail.