Two years. That was the sentence Loren Morris received following her conviction on three counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 16. Morris raped an eight-year-old boy for two years starting when she was 16-years-old. News about the abuse surfaced when the victim allegedly “bragged” about it at school.
Morris smiled at the cameras as she waited for Judge Robert Juckes QC to issue his ruling. The judge explained his reason for the slap on the wrist:
‘I make no secret of the fact your case has given me cause for much consideration.
‘I have come to the conclusion that due to the concern and embarrassment caused to both you and your family that you will not be offending again, let alone committing sexual offences.
‘I am also aware of the effect this will have on your baby. I am pleased to hear your parents have started to build bridges with you.
‘That does not stop the fact though that you had full sexual intercourse with a child when he was eight to 10 years old – by his evidence it was upwards of fifty times.
‘It seems to me that I am bound to pass an immediate custodial sentence. I take into account what has been said to me and the fact that you stopped the activity yourself.
‘You realised it was wrong rather than being caught and forced to stop. Therefore my sentence is one of two years. You will serve 12 months in prison before being released on licence.’
None of the articles covering the case mention anything explaining why Morris stopped abusing the boy. Perhaps that information came out during the trial and was not reported in the news. It is more likely that the boy either aged out of Morris’ age range, she lost interest in him as she got older, or the boy responded in a way that turned Morris off.
It seems unlikely that Morris stopped because she knew it was wrong. It seems less likely that the “embarrassment” caused by the case will prevent her from offending again. After all, she did not get caught and she did not report herself. There is no reason to assume that she will not reoffend simply because of the media coverage and familial turmoil.
This is the kind of slap on the wrist that is the most dangerous. It not only sends the convicted the message that they will get a pass if the reoffend, but also that the system will not take the case seriously. They will simply go through the process and get the shortest sentence they can give under the law.
The sentence is the embarrassment, but it is unlikely that the judge will experience any of that.