Sept 2008

Bus driver guilty of molesting girl

A BUS driver was jailed for ten months for sexually abusing a teenage girl.

Victor Penaluna, 62, of Markham Crescent, Oakdale was found guilty by a majority of ten to two of sexual activity with the girl.

Prosecuor Ieuan Rees said that the girl went to a house in September last year and Penaluna who was present said something about her clothing.

As she went passed him he grabbed her, pulled her on to his lap and indecently touched her.

The girl later told her mother what had occurred and the police became involved.

Penaluna said he had behaved towards the girl in a friendly manner and had her given her a kiss.

His counsel, Claire Wilks, said: “He cannot be given credit for having pleaded guilty.

“The court has a stark choice, immediate custody, or a community sentence or a suspended sentence.”

She said the case was at the lower end of the scale for such offences.

“It was not premeditated and he has not lost his good character.”

She pointed out that Penaluna was the principle carer for his sick mother, was at low risk of re-offending and had lost his job.

Penaluna, who had no previous convictions, was told by Judge Christopher Llewellyn Jones the victim was obviously very distressed at what happened.

It was plain when she gave evidence that she was still distressed.

He said that among the aggravating features was the persistence of the assault and the effect on her.

“I am satisfied that this offence is so serious that only immediate custody can be passed.”

On release from prison Penaluna has been ordered to register as a sex offender for ten years and has been banned for life from working with children.