June 2011

Hospital worker targeted 14-year-old on ‘girlie’ night in with mum’s friend

A CARER at a hospital for mental health patients has been jailed after sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday heard 58-year-old Leslie Dawson committed the offence when he stayed at a woman’s house in October 2009.

The woman was having a ‘girlie’ night in with her friend’s 14-year-old daughter.

At the end of the night the teenager understood she was to sleep in the bed, her mum’s friend was to sleep on the floor and Dawson was to sleep on the settee.

But the woman got in bed with the girl followed by Dawson who was between them.

Prosecutor Richard Atkins said the teenager told police there was sexual activity between the two adults.

“Dawson then turned his attention to the teenager,” added Mr Atkins.

The court heard Dawson indecently assaulted the girl by touching her.

Mr Atkins said: “The teenager thought it lasted between 10 and 15 minutes.

“And when Dawson finished he told her not to tell anyone. He made some comment that age does not matter and it was just a number.”

The court heard that the victim reported the matter to police some days later.

She told officers that she felt dirty and kept washing herself.

She was medically examined and a bruise was consistent with her account of what Dawson did to her.

Dawson initially denied any sexual activity with the girl.

But the defendant, of Castle Grove, Abbey Hulton, later pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl between October 28, 2009 and October 31, 2009.

Catherine O’Reilly, mitigating, said Dawson was of good character.

She said: “He has significantly struggled coming to terms with the level of offending.

“But he is slowly coming to terms with what he has done.

“He does regret what he has done and he is remorseful and he is deeply concerned about the effect his actions have had on the teenager.”

Miss O’Reilly said Dawson has since lost his job as a carer at the Harplands Hospital in Hartshill.

She added: “He has lost his self respect, and he lost his job, which meant a great deal to him.

“He has decided to sever links with his family because of the shame he has brought on himself.”

Miss O’Reilly asked Judge Mark Eades to consider handing Dawson a suspended sentence or a community order so he could receive a high level of assistance in the community.

But the judge jailed Dawson for twenty-two-and-a-half months and made him the subject of a sexual offences prevention order for 10 years.

The defendant will also have to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

Judge Eades told him: “You pleaded guilty to a serious offence of sexual activity with a child.

“Among the aggravating features are the disparity in age between you and your victim and she was at the time particularly vulnerable.”