A 16-YEAR-OLD boy who sexually assaulted a teenage girl and grabbed another two women as they walked through Figtree parks has been sentenced to a minimum three-and-a-half years behind bars.
The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was given an overall five-and-a-half-year jail sentence in Wollongong District Court yesterday for the brazen, daylight attacks.
Sentencing the boy, Judge Paul Conlon rejected claims the teen's Asperger's syndrome caused him to commit the offences, noting the boy had admitted to being "angry" at women at the time.
The teen, who pleaded guilty to the incidents, had been unhappy with the demise of his relationships and was "seeking revenge" when he attacked two of the victims, the court was told.
The boy threatened a 15-year-old girl with a knife and sexually assaulted her as she walked her dog through Roy Johansen Park last December. The violent assault came just days after he grabbed a woman, 23, as she wandered through Harry Graham Park, forcing her to the ground and making lewd remarks before she escaped.
Another victim, 22, was walking her dog along a Figtree cycleway when the teen grabbed her shoulder and dragged her on to the grass before she managed to fight him off and flee.
Judge Conlon said the teen had broken up with his girlfriend just one week before he assaulted the 15-year-old victim. He told the court the teen had admitted to arming himself with a knife because he wanted to "scare (the girl) into doing what he wanted" but later conceded he "felt bad" about his actions.
The court was told the boy's recent diagnosis with Asperger's syndrome had come after a long history of behavioural issues, including difficulty relating to others and understanding the consequences of his actions.
The boy had acted inappropriately towards girls from a young age and had struggled to "let go" of his teenage girlfriends when the relationships ended.
Judge Conlon acknowledged the teen had no prior criminal record, was willing to participate in a sex offender program and continue his schooling. He also recognised the terrifying nature of the attacks and the significant emotional harm inflicted on the victims.