June 2022

Sunderland man sexually assaulted schoolboy during ‘goal celebration’ in game of street football

A man sexually assaulted a schoolboy during a “goal celebration” in a game of street football near a train station.

Stephen Lee had joined in when he saw his victim and a friend playing with a ball near a Metro station in Sunderland last November

Newcastle Crown Court heard that during the game the 35-year-old took a chance to grab the youngster and tell him “come with me up here” while sexually assaulting him.

However, the boy’s friend stepped in to help the youngster and they both ran away.

The court was told that the attack, which left the boy “very frightened”, was captured on CCTV and that Lee was later traced and arrested.

When questionned, he told police he had an alcohol problem and could not remember what he did.

Lee, of Bambro Street, Hendon, Sunderland, who has previous convictions which include offences of dishonesty and violence, admitted sexual assault on a child and also a bail act offence.

Judge Penny Moreland said: “The defendant told the probation officer he thought it was just a goal celebration but I have seen the CCTV and it was clearly a sexual attack.

“The defendant may prefer to think of it is a football celebration but it most clearly was not, it was a sexual assault.”

Judge Moreland said Lee, who has no previous convictions for sexual offending and has spent time in prison on remand, is capable of rehabilitation.

The judge sentenced him to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with alcohol treatment and sex offender groupwork requirements.

Lee must sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.