Sex offender jailed for assaulting two vulnerable women
A convicted sex offender has been jailed for groping two vulnerable women in Plymouth.
Kenneth Harper assaulted his victims while visiting the residential block where they lived.
The 59-year-old took advantage of the women’s vulnerable state to touch them on the legs, bottom and breasts.
The defendant, of Henderson Place, has a previous conviction for serious sexual offences and regarded the women’s accommodation as a place where he could ‘misbehave with confidence.
A trial at Plymouth Crown Court heard the offences only came to light when he was spotted groping one woman. The second victim then came forward to say she had been touched by him.
Harper was jailed for eight years in 2008 for serious sexual offences in Oxford. He denied the latest allegations but was convicted by a jury in June of four charges of sexual assault. He returned to court in Exeter on Monday [July 25] to be sentenced.
Deputy Circuit Judge Neil Davey QC said he had caused his victims serious psychological harm and still denied his guilt. Harper was jailed for 15 months.
Judge Davey said: “You are nearly 60 and for the second time in your life you have been convicted of sexual offending against vulnerable victims. Although the seriousness has diminished your willingness to continue offending, sadly, has not. It is plain to me from the evidence that you also regarded it as a place where you could misbehave with confidence where no one would complain.”
He said both victims were vulnerable adults, one aged in her 20s and the other in her 50s. Harper assaulted one woman by putting an arm around her and squeezing her bottom on two occasions. He grabbed and squeezed the second victim’s breasts when she was sat next to him on a bench. On another occasion he ran his hand up her leg towards her groin.
In a statement she said his offending had made her feel violated and Harper acted like someone who could do whatever he wanted. She had a traumatic background and his actions had ‘ruined my life’ and destroyed her trust in men.
The judge said: “It is plain to me that immediate custody will result in some harmful impact for your partner for whom you are a full-time carer but in my judgement you have no strong personal mitigation and you continue to deny offences and call the victims liars.
“You chose to commit further sexual offences against vulnerable people with particularly harmful consequences.”
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