A store manager and married father, who grabbed a teenage girl shop assistant and kissed her after ‘sexual banter’, has walked free from court with a conditional discharge.
The girl was ‘devastated’ by the incident at the hands of the father-of-two and is now being treated for depression, Gloucester Crown Court was told on Monday.
Mark Creed, aged 38, of Deacle Place, Evesham, admitted sexually assaulting the girl on June 27 last year.
Christopher Jervis, prosecuting, told the court that Creed had called the girl to the CCTV room to tell her what jobs he wanted her to do that day.
“The defendant was a new manager and had been at the store in the Cotswolds for only three weeks before this incident. From the time he started he made sexual innuendoes towards the young female staff.
“He moved towards her and placed his hands around her waist and pulled her towards him. She tried to push him away but was unsuccessful. He moved his mouth towards her and tried to kiss her. He managed to clamp his lips to her mouth and she could feel his lips on her.
“After two minutes of struggle she got free and ran upstairs where she told the cashier and later her mother.”
Mr Jervis said that when Creed was arrested he told police there was a ‘degree of sexual banter on both sides’ between himself and staff and that she had made ‘suggestive actions with a bottle’.
Mr Jervis said that Creed was a man of previous good character and that his basis of plea – that there was a ‘sexual banter on both sides’ was acceptable.
Creed, who had been married for eight years, owned up to his crime on the day he was to have stood trial in February.
Paul Cook, prosecuting on that date, told the court that the offence had had an ‘absolutely devastating effect’ on the girl. There had already been some issues in her past, which I have explained to the defence, and Your Honour knows about them.”
Recorder Michael de Navarro told Creed: “The particular effect on this victim may well have been because of the previous tragic history.
“You were 38 and her boss. But I’m satisfied that this all started with some sexual banter and flirting. I sentence you on the basis that this was a one-off and you do not represent a danger.”
Creed was given a two-year conditional discharge and will be placed on the sexual offenders register for the duration of that sentence.