Daniel Cieslak, a man who admitted raping a 12-year-old girl, has walked free from court. pic.twitter.com/XqFw3HaZV7— Man in Black (@69mib) March 17, 2017
At 21, Daniel Cieslak has been acquitted after having admitted to raping a 12-year-old girl in the United Kingdom.
Cieslak, who was 19 at the time of incident, allegedly believed the girl was 16. He met her at a taxi cab stand.
The girl had traveled to Edinburgh on a Friday with her 13-year-old friend. There, they met other friends and bought vodka, court records show. According to prosecutor Kath Harper, police officers searching for another missing girl spoke to the 12-year-old victim but didn't make a note of her age as they “were not concerned,” BBC reports.
While waiting for a taxi cab, the victim and her friend met Cieslak and told him they were 16 and 17. He then asked if the girls would like to come to his friend's house for a party. There, he and the 12-year-old had sex. In the morning, the victim left the house without giving any signs of distress, but days later she told her sister she was “extremely worried” she could be pregnant.
Under United Kingdom laws, children under the age of 13 are not allowed to give informed consent about sexual intercourse. While the girl allegedly engaged in the sexual activity willingly, the laws do not permit the older party to resort to the defense of consent in this case. Cieslak had already pleaded guilty to rape but when ruling on this case, Judge Lady Scott imposed no punishment on the 21-year-old.
“I do not consider there is any need for, or public interest in, punishment. To do so would in my view be disproportionate given the nature of the criminal culpability here,” she told the court.
But what appears to be the most concerning aspect of this case to many critics is that one of the reasons for the acquittal was that Scott said that all witnesses who saw the girl around the time she and Cieslak met — including the taxi driver — thought she was older. If the girl had been 13-years-old at the time instead of 12 years and seven months, he wouldn't have been prosecuted.
Regardless of how this case turned out, statistics show that about 1,700 people aged 15 or under are victims of rape in England and Wales each year. With approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men suffering sexual assault also yearly, that accounts for 11 rapes every hour. That's an awful lot of rape cases and yet, only 15 percent of the victims choose to report the incident to the police.
If anything, locals should use this story to raise awareness to the importance of seeking justice in these cases as too many rapists appear to be escaping without punishment.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlos Jasso