A MAN who indecently touched a younger girl when he was aged 13 has been spared a prison sentence.
William Mitcheson, 31, of Quedgeley, near Gloucester, admitted four counts of indecent assault, committed almost two decades ago, when he lived in County Durham.
Emma Dowling, prosecuting, said the allegations arose after the victim disclosed, “non-recent sexual abuse”, during a counselling session.
“After some discussions it was reported to police by the counsellor.”
Mitcheson told police he touched the girl “inappropriately” four times as a young teenager.
Miss Dowling said if dealt with at the time, under old sexual offences law, he would have been eligible only for a referral order.
Martin Sharpe, for Mitcheson, who presented 39 character references to the court, said the defendant, a full trained baker, hopes to emigrate to Australia or New Zealand with his wife to meet a shortage in the trade.
Judge James Adkin said: “There were no relevant convictions either at the time, or now, and there has been no repetition of the conduct.”
He told Mitcheson he was an “immature teenager” at the time, adding: “The passage of time shows you are not a man committed to committing offences against children or any other offences.”
He imposed a one-year community order, to include attending 20 probation-led days on a ‘desistance’ programme.
Mitcheson was also made subject of a lifetime restraining order forbidding contact with the victim.