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Social worker Robert Robinson suspended for sexual misconduct after porn and baps comments

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A social worker has been suspended after groping a junior colleague.

Robert Robinson, who has worked for Kent County Council since 2014, was found guilty of multiple charges of sexual misconduct against a female co-worker.

A disciplinary hearing at London's Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service heard Robinson had touched his colleague's breasts and bottom, told her about times he had watched porn featuring women "of her size" and compared her breasts to bread rolls.

Kent County Council's County Hall headquarters in Maidstone
Kent County Council's County Hall headquarters in Maidstone

Robinson "emphatically" denied the sexual misconduct charges, during a KCC internal investigation, but did not attend the tribunal proceedings earlier this month on the basis that the panel had "already prejudged the outcome of the hearing".

The tribunal's conduct and competence committee said Robinson's conduct fell far short of the standards expected of a social worker and the panel imposed a "serious sanction" of a year-long suspension to reflect the "gravity" of the offences.

The series of incidents took place between April and June 2017.

The panel was told about the first incident, which took place on May 12, 2017, when Robinson spoke to his junior colleague about watching pornography featuring women "of her size" and saying it "turned him on" when they were in a small first aid room.

The victim was said to be "embarrassed" and raised her right hand to indicate that he should stop talking in that manner.

According to the report, Robinson then took a step towards her and "put one hand on her bottom and other hand on her right breast".

The victim told the panel she felt "intimidated" and told him to "f*** off" before leaving the room.

"The panel determined a suspension of 12 months was the appropriate sanction in order to protect the public and reflect the gravity of the misconduct..." tribunal report

Later that month Robinson allegedly asked her if she wanted to have sex with him, just days before she was due to go on holiday with her husband.

The panel heard she did not report Robinson because she "respected her managers".

After she returned from her holiday, Robinson had text his colleague a postcode for a Travelodge in Rainham asking if she wanted to meet him.

However, she declined and deleted the text, telling the panel his actions made her feel "uncomfortable".

Robinson admitted sending her a text message during a KCC internal investigation in late 2017 but he said it related to a request to check the hotel for a family friend staying there.

The panel was then told of another incident when Robinson had invited his colleague for a private chat in a side meeting room in June 2017.

He started talking to her about porn again before touching the top of her right breast, telling her: "They do not disappoint."

She again told Robinson to "f*** off" and pushed past him to leave the room.

She told the panel she looked down to make sure her clothing was in order and noticed that he was aroused. This left her very upset and within an hour she left the office on a work visit and did not return that day.

The final incident, which took place a day later in the office, came after the female co-worker had returned from shopping at a local Asda with a packet of bread rolls.

The report says she was with a colleague when Robinson asked what she was cooking for his dinner.

He then squeezed the packet and said: "I like a good pair of baps."

Robinson accepted making a comment but maintained it was a "silly joke in bad taste".

The KCC internal investigation came soon after the last incident when the victim complained about Robinson's conduct to a KCC accommodation officer in June 2017.

Robinson "emphatically denied" all allegations against him when he was interviewed by a service manager on two separate occasions in July and September 2017.

Two separate incidents involving Robinson and two other female colleagues were later revealed to the panel.

One woman told the panel Robinson once stroked her shoulder and adjusted the strap on her vest top, an allegation he denied.

The other colleague told the panel she was described as "cheeky" and "lippy" by Robinson, which he was found guilty of.

Mitigating factors were made on Robinson's behalf, including 29 years of "unblemished service", and he was described as a "capable manager" in his usual dealings with his colleagues.

Concluding, the tribunal report says: "The panel therefore determined that a suspension order of 12 months duration was the appropriate sanction in order to protect the public and reflect the gravity of the misconduct.

"The panel concluded that this order would maintain the confidence of the public in the regulator and the profession."

KCC was approached for comment but declined to provide one.

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