A judge has shown mercy to a woman who obtained sexual favours from teenage girls by pretending to be a boy.
Christine Wilson, 25, of Aberdeen, was put on probation for three years and ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid community work.
Lord Bannatyne told Wilson at the High Court in Edinburgh that he regarded it as “an exceptional case” which could be dealt with by a non-custodial sentence.
The judge added that he believed Wilson’s culpability was “significantly lowered” by a diagnosis of gender identity disorder, a recognised psychiatric disorder which caused her to genuinely feel she was male rather than female.
“This is not a situation where you dressed up as a boy deliberately to obtain sexual intimacy with the complainers. Rather, you always dressed as a boy. You did not set out to harm either of the complainers,” said Lord Bannatyne.
At an earlier hearing, Wilson pleaded guilty to two charges of obtaining sexual intimacy by fraud and was put on the sex offenders’ register.
The court was told that by her own admission, Wilson had experienced confusion about her sexuality and had presented as a boy. She was now on a gender reassignment programme.
The advocate-depute, Jane Farquharson, said Wilson was 21 but pretended to be 17 when she met a 15-year-old girl through a mutual friend. Their relationship became physical, at the girl’s home and in sand dunes at Balmedie Beach, near Aberdeen.
“Initially, this contact is described as kissing and cuddling, but things progressed...when the complainer tried to reciprocate this affection...she was discouraged. The accused explained to her, ‘I’m a giver, not a taker’, “ said Ms Farquharson.
There had been rumours that Wilson was female, but the girl refused to believe the gossip until someone sent her a copy of Wilson’s passport. She ended the relationship.
The second girl was also 15, although she told Wilson she was 16. Wilson was 23. They met at an amusement park in Aberdeen, and began going out together. They became intimate. However, Wilson learned the girl was under age and told her their relationship could not continue. The girl had been “besotted” with Wilson and struggled to accept it was over, and went to Wilson’s home. She became ill and Wilson called an ambulance and went with the girl to hospital and contacted her parents.
Later, police visited the girl and confirmed to her that Wilson was female.
“This news shocked and upset her. She found it difficult to believe it was true. She struggled to come to terms with the deceit. The accused is described as her ‘first love.’ Both complainers honestly believed that they were in a relationsip with a boy,” said Ms Farquharson.
Wilson had confessed to the police and showed remorse at the end of her interview, the court heard.
The defence counsel, Shelagh McCall, said Wilson had gender identity disorder, and had assumed a “gender neutral” identity from an early age.
Ms McCall added: “He has worn male clothes and has pursued male pursuits. It would be wrong to say that he disguised himself as a boy. He has always been gender neutral.”
Wilson accepted her guilt and Miss McCall said: “The deceit is the fact that she did nothing to disabuse them of the notion that he is biologically female.”