A sexual offender has been jailed for five years for attacking a teenage girl on her way home from school.
Dwayne David Beach, 47, had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of intruding on the privacy of the 15-year-old on January 22 this year.
Beach was on probation when he committed the offence, having carried out a similar attack in 2010.
At a sentencing hearing in Supreme Court One yesterday, prosecutors told how Beach approached the teenager, who was wearing a school uniform.
He then pulled her into a yard, pinned her against a wall, and began groping her chest, licking her face and kissing her, while telling her that she was “gorgeous”.
Beach’s victim was only able to escape after punching him in the face and running from the scene. She took a bus home and immediately told her mother about the attack, who then phoned police.
Beach was arrested a few days later and initially told police that he had only kissed her on the hand.
But saliva samples take from the victim’s cheek tested positive for Beach’s DNA. He subsequently admitted the offence, but claimed he could not remember any details because he had been drinking.
In court yesterday, prosecutor Larissa Burgess said Beach was totally to blame for his actions.
“He had indulged from 6am until the time of the offence and says he doesn’t remember anything,” she said, before adding: “Alcohol cannot be used as a scapegoat for his atrocious behaviour.
“This defendant has scant regard for community-held values. He acted as a predator, but teenage women need to have a sense of safety when they are walking to and from school.
“Actions of this nature on unsuspecting victims are shocking to the islands of Bermuda and the damage caused to young people in our community is immeasurable.”
In a victim impact statement read out in court, the teenager said that, since the attack, she no longer felt safe and did not enjoy going anywhere without her parents.
She also said that she had had nightmares about the attack and no longer trusted people.
In another statement, the victim’s mother said she had seen her daughter “change in so many ways”, from being “funny and sociable” to “reserved and isolated”.
Defence lawyer Ken Savoury argued that his client was usually a respectful man, but his personality changed when he consumed alcohol to excess.
He also pointed out that, although Beach had committed a similar offence in 2010 for which he served a year in jail, he had since managed to abstain from alcohol through drug treatment programmes — until his probation officer moved.
“Somewhere along the line the system failed him and this is why he fell off the rails and got back into alcohol,” Mr Savoury explained, adding that his client did not represent a threat to women or society.
“That is very hard to swallow,” Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves replied.
The judge warned that Beach did pose a danger to women, and needed enough time in custody to complete sex offender and drug and alcohol programmes.
He sentenced Beach to five years in jail for sexual assault with three years of probation, along with three years for intrusion. The sentences are to run concurrently.
“You can’t go kissing up young children like that,” he told Beach.
Before sentence was passed, Beach apologised to the court.
“I am sorry for my behaviour — I gave my heart to the Lord on Easter Sunday and I want to get help with my alcohol problem — I really need help,” he said.
By Gareth Finighan The Royal Gazette