January 2010

Man is spared jail for kissing girl under 16

A MAN has avoided jail for touching and kissing a teenage girl who tried to fend him off.

James Roberts, 56, of Badlake Hill, Dawlish, was given a two year community order after admitting sexual activity with a child and ordered to attend a rehabilitation scheme for sex offenders, at Exeter Crown Court yesterday.

Prosecutor David Evans said the victim was a teenager, under 16, from Devon. She cannot be identified.

The offence of sexual activity with a child happened last year when he held her face in his hands and kissed her on the lips.

“She was startled and said no,” said Mr Evans, adding Roberts then kissed her on the neck. Roberts walked away but returned and put his hand on her stomach and on her bra.

“She was clearly alarmed and said no,” said Mr Evans.

The girl told a school teacher and a police investigation was launched.

Defence counsel Rupert Taylor said the defendant was in a “senior position” in his job, details of which were not given in court, and faced losing his employment and his house if he was sent to prison.

Judge John Neligan said Roberts must have two years of supervision by the probation service and attend a sex offender treatment programme for a year. The defendant must also join in a course to address his alcohol use and put his details on the Sex Offender Register for five years.