A 32-year-old man who asked a young girl to touch his private parts has been given a suspended sentence.
Garry Wardropper was told by Recorder Ben Nolan QC he need not go straight to prison because his offending was relatively minor in the context of child sex offences.
Wardropper first asked his victim to scratch his leg, Teesside Crown Court heard.
“She complied with that request,” said Michael Tanney, prosecuting. “While doing so she touched his genital area.
“It accepted that touching was incidental, but Wardropper asked her to do it again, which is incitement to sexual activity.
“She declined, he then asked her if he could touch her, which she also declined.”
Wardropper, 32, of Maple Terrace, Shiney Row, denied inciting a child to commit sexual activity.
He was convicted by a jury after a trial at Newcastle Crown Court earlier this year.
Robin Patton, defending, said in mitigation: “This offence has already caused the break-up of his relationship, and he has very little access to his 18-month-old son.
“He does have previous convictions for possessing an offensive weapon, but nothing for sexual offences.
“Mr Wardropper has had difficulties in his life, and he is not the most intelligent of men.”
Recorder Nolan sentenced Wardropper to 18 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and a supervision order of 18 months.
“This offending crosses the custody threshold,” Recorder Nolan told Wardropper.
“I can suspend the custodial element for a number of reasons.
“There was no intimate touching by you, the incident was short-lived, this is not a breach of trust case, and in my judgment the victim is unlikely to have suffered lasting harm.
“The supervision element of the sentence will hopefully enable the Probation Service to educate you in relation to what is appropriate behaviour around children.”
Wardropper was banned for five years from any unsupervised contact with girls under 13 years.
He must register as a sex offender for five years.