A teenager raped a seven-year-old boy while on a two-hour release from a secure residential unit.
The 16-year-old – who cannot be named for legal reasons – pretended to be a police officer before leading his victim to a deserted graveyard.
He went on to choke his terrified victim and warned he would kill him if he told anyone about the abuse.
At the High Court in Glasgow he admitted the crime and was sentenced to 28 months detention.
The teenager will serve his sentence in a young offenders’ institution and he will be monitored for four years after his release.
The sentence was condemned by the victim’s grandmother who described it as like a “kick in the stomach”.
Outside court she said: “I’m absolutely shocked at how low this sentence is. He should have got at least five years.
“It’s like a kick in the stomach for my grandson and the family.
“My grandson has a lifelong sentence hanging over him. He has nightmares because he is scared. He has got no confidence. He used to be such a confident wee boy.
“How are they going to monitor the accused after he gets out? They never managed before.”
The court was told that the decision to give the teenager unsupervised release for two hours each day happened just weeks before the attack in Lennoxtown on 14 June.
The decision was made despite him inappropriately touching a 16-year-old boy in November 2017.
He had previously been placed under the round-the-clock watch by an organisation called Care Visions in a residential unit close to where the attack occurred.
Prosecutor Stewart Ronnie said: “Given he had now reached 16 and that for the previous three months there were no reports of sexualised behaviour, it was decided he be given two hours a day unsupervised time to himself.”
‘High degree of cunning’
This allowed him to prowl in the grounds of a local primary school around 18:00 on the day of the attack.
The teenager – who had to be “contactable” by phone – claimed he was going to a library, but instead watched a group of boys playing football.
When one of them lost his phone the 16-year-old pretended to be a police officer and stayed with the seven-year-old claiming he would help him find his phone.
The teenager then took the young boy to a deserted graveyard and sexually assaulted him.
Defence counsel Sean Templeton said: “The accused accepts there will be a degree of supervision on his release and he accepts that.”
Judge Lord Burns told the 16-year-old: “You are assessed as very high risk of committing sexual offending in the future. You raped a seven-year-old boy at a time when you were being carefully monitored.
“You demonstrated a high degree of cunning and deception to carry out appalling abuse of this young boy when you knew you were only released for a couple of hours.”
Lord Burns backdated the sentence to June 29, last year and placed the teenager on the sex offenders’ register.