A MAN who groped a schoolgirl during a West Cumbria bus journey has been spared immediate prison by a judge but told: “You give men a bad name.”
Joshua Walter Rudd, 25, engaged the 15-year-old in conversation during the night-time trip on June 19 last year as she sat alone. Intoxicated Rudd was told her age, asked whether he could have a kiss and, when she got up to leave her seat, grabbed her bottom.
After the girl told her mother and a social media campaign was mounted to identify the culprit, Rudd went into a police station and was picked out as the man responsible.
In a statement, the girl spoke of being left anxious and vulnerable by his crime. “I am always worried that the incident will happen again,” she said. “I feel sick that he did this to me when he knew I was 15.”
Rudd, of Duke Street, Cleator Moor, admitted sexual assault at a previous hearing when he was told by Judge Andrew Jefferies QC that he could receive the “short, sharp shock” of a prison sentence as punishment.
But after learning of Rudd’s personal difficulties, that he acknowledged the seriousness of the offence and the impact on his victim, and that he had shown genuine regret and remorse, Judge Jefferies suspended a two-month jail term for two years. Rudd must complete a rehabilitation requirement, a sex offender treatment course and sign the sex offenders’ register for seven years.
“You give men a bad name,” said Judge Jefferies, who remarked that Rudd had treated the girl “like a piece of meat”. Because women will say ‘all men are like this’; they think it is fine to go around squeezing strange girl’s bums on buses. I want young men…to realise ‘no, it’s not all right’.
“It is only because of your personal circumstances that I have read about that I am suspending your sentence.”