Febuary 2007

Pensioner’s sex assault on girl, 13

The father of a teenage girl who was sexually assaulted by a pensioner has criticised the community order the man was handed by a court.

George Long, 78, of Craven Close, Rochford, had hired the 13-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to clean his home last year after advertising in the window of a local shop.

However, what started as kisses hello and goodbye then escalated into the girl being dragged onto Long’s lap, where he put his hand up her shirt to “play with” her belly button. He told her not to tell anyone.

The pensioner, who pleaded guilty in Basildon Crown Court to sexually touching the teenager, was handed a three-year community order and ordered to pay legal costs of £200.

He was not required to pay any compensation to the girl, who has since undergone counselling.

Outside court, the girl’s father said the sentence was a “joke”. He said: “My daughter has been wronged and this hasn’t put it right.

“She hasn’t put it behind her at all. She still worries.

“I had hoped they would put him in prison, but that was never going to happen with the prisons being full. I’m not impressed.”

Clare Ashcroft, prosecuting, said the girl had contacted her mother to collect her from Long’s house after his cuddles and kisses became “lingering” and she became scared.

Long had told police the incident was not sexually motivated.

Chloe Newell, mitigating, said the pensioner had regretted the distress he had caused the girl and had pleaded guilty to spare her the stress of giving evidence in court. She asked for mercy because of his age and ill health.

Judge Brooke said while he could not order Long to stay away from hiring young girls, he advised: “No more teenage cleaners.

“You will leave here in no doubt you could have been sent to prison today.”

Long’s community order will see him on probation for three years and completing a community sex offenders program, with six monthly reports back to Judge Brooke. Long has been placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years.