Girl with learning difficulties ‘had sex with men so she could leave house’

A girl with learning difficulties allegedly had sex with two men at a house in Armagh so she would be allowed to leave, the High Court has heard.

Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 3:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 4:00 pm

The 15-year-old also told police who found her near a bus station last week that she knew neither of them by name.

Details emerged as one of the two accused, Romanian national Razvan Stefanica, 19, was granted bail.

Stefanica, a poultry worker of Lisanally Lane in Armagh, denies charges of false imprisonment and raping the girl on three separate dates.

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During interviews he admitted having sex with her but said he thought she was an adult.

Prosecutors said police were alerted on March 7 after friends of the girl informed her mother that she was at an address with foreign nationals.

When located she claimed to have spent up to an hour having sex with two males at Stefanica’s home.

A Crown lawyer said: “The injured party stated in her account that she had sex in order to be allowed to leave the property.

“She also stated that they asked her age on arrival and she informed them she was only 15.”

The court heard she described repeatedly saying “no” to both men, and at no stage gave them consent.

Following his arrest Stefanica denied the girl was made to stay at the house.

He admitted having sex with her on three occasions but claimed to believe she was older, a judge was told.

But opposing bail, the prosecutor alleged that he also asked the girl if her parents would be concerned about her.

She was described as having a learning difficulty with a mental age of younger than 15.

Defence barrister Barry McKenna stressed the issue of consent will be critical in the case.

Mr McKenna told the court the girl had come to his client’s home, and disputed claims she was being held there by Stefanica.

“His response after caution was ‘I did nothing wrong’,” counsel said.

“He did not deny sexual contact had taken place and, remarkably, self-disclosed previous sexual activity.”

Granting bail to an address to be approved by police, Judge Brian Sherrard ordered Stefanica to have no contact with the alleged victim or anyone else under 16.

He also banned the accused from leaving Northern Ireland.