A MAN in his 60s who “playfully” slapped the bottoms of three girls has been convicted of sexual assault.
Barry Suddens, of Grenville Avenue, Stoke, lightly spanked them through their clothes, Coventry Crown Court heard.
The girls, two aged 13 and one aged 12, were said to be “frustrated and angry” by what he did last February.
Suddens, a 63-year-old married grandfather-of-six, admitted three counts of sexual assault.
Three other matters were ordered to lie on file. None of the victims was a member of his family.
Suddens was placed on probation for three years, and ordered to attend a sex offenders course and register as a sex offender.
He was also banned from having any unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18.
In a statement read out in court, he said: “I did not derive any sexual gratification from it, but I accept it was unlawful.”
The court heard Suddens’ last conviction for any offence was in 1978.
Judge Peter Ross told him: “Everyone agrees in this case that your offending falls into the lowest category of gravity.
“You have pleaded guilty to offences which involved the touching of young teenage girls over their clothing on their bottoms.
“You say that was playful conduct, not sexually motivated, but you have heard the effect your conduct had on the girls and I hope that brings home to you how unacceptable this conduct is.
“One of the aggravating circumstances in this case is the massive age discrepancy.”
The judge added: “You are a man of 63 and you have been out of trouble for some considerable time.”
Kristina Montgomery, defending, said “playful” actions had been misinterpreted but that Suddens had since reflected on his behaviour.
She said: “There has been a genuine dawning that his behaviour, which he did not initially perceive to be controversial" perhaps that’s a generation thing" is perceived by most people to be controversial and unlawful.
“He does not present a continued threat of this type of behaviour.”
Speaking after the hearing, Det Con Fergal Sharkey, of West Midlands Police, said: “It’s taken a lot of courage for the victims to come forward, and today justice has been done. We are satisfied with the outcome.
“This case serves as a reminder to adults to be mindful of their actions while in the company of children and young adults.”
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