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Man jailed for sex assault on schoolgirl

Brown was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court
Brown was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court

A 40-year-old man has been jailed for seven-and-a-half months for indecently assaulting a young girl.

Stephen Brown was told by Judge Timothy Nash at Canterbury Crown Court that although the offence was at the lower end of the scale, it was the emotional, as well as the physical, consequences of Brown's actions he was concerned with.

Brown, of Twelve Acres, Willesborough, Ashford, returned to the court for sentence following his conviction after trial in January. He will be on the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years.

Judge Nash said Brown was not prepared to admit what he did and his victim was still suffering enormous emotional problems as a result of his behaviour.

"I note you were warned twice by a great friend of yours that you were behaving in a way that left you open to a suggestion of misbehaviour but you took no note of the advice given," he said.

"In one sense you could be said to have been grooming this young girl. You were in any event in a position of trust and you breached it.

"I had hoped that perhaps an acknowledgement of what had taken place might have enabled the probation service to present me with an alternative so you could relive your life once again in the community in a penitent way but that course is not open to me in view of the attitude you have taken to the offence."

During the trial the jury heard how a neighbour had warned Brown about his over-familiarity with young girls, although Brown denied ever receiving such a warning, and in September, 2003, a 14-year-old schoolgirl complained that she had been assaulted by Brown while at his house.

The Crown said there were some exchanges and horseplay as Brown pulled her around.

He then touched her in various places on her body and suggested they go upstairs, implying to have sex.

The discussion continued on the lines of whether she had ever had sex with another man. The girl left upset.

Brown's neighbour John Sayer told the jury how he had watched Brown wrestling with young girls and described his hands as 'going everywhere'.

Mr Sayer said he warned Brown more than once.

Brown denied all the girl's allegations saying she had made everything up. He was often alone with children but never touched any of them indecently and did not initiate any sexual contact with the victim.

At the sentencing hearing, Katherine Farrelly, for Brown, said his family had continued to support him since he was convicted but he had found prison difficult and his family had also suffered.

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