A COUNSELLOR hired to help women with alcohol problems allegedly plied them with drink and sexually assaulted two of them.
Ronald Crangle was employed as a project worker by Stonham, a provider of housing and support services for vulnerable people, Durham Crown Court heard.
“As part of his job he visited people at home,” said Richard Bennett, prosecuting. “Crangle was allowed to visit on his own, but the rules were clear: he was to confine his role strictly to offering professional assistance.
“Due to his interest in two women, he went well beyond what was professional.
“There are four charges which we say are reflective of a continuous course of conduct.”
One of the victims told the court Crangle turned up with cans of Carling lager. “He came to me straight from Asda and had the cans hidden in his briefcase,” said the woman.
“I was drinking a lot back then and I had some, but I’m now not drinking. When you stop, you get your self-respect back and realise you are worth something.”
The court heard Crangle is alleged to have encouraged his victims to talk about sex, and told one of them he had not had sex for a long time.
Both women – who do not know each other and live in different parts of County Durham – said Crangle groped them and tried to remove their upper clothing.
After the last incident Crangle left without saying a word, and phoned his employers to say he was sick and would not be returning to work.
Crangle, 64, of Kielder, Oxclose, Washington, denies four charges of sexual assault between October 2008 and December 2010.
He told police nothing improper had taken place with any woman.
Crangle said one of the women was annoyed after Stonham withdrew his services because she kept cancelling appointments.