A FIFTY-seven-year-old Port Stephens bus driver convicted of indecently assaulting a 16-year-old girl told police he was keen to pursue a relationship with the teenager because he thought she "wanted to take it further".
Ross Frederick Allen received a one-year suspended jail sentence yesterday after Newcastle Local Court magistrate John Chicken previously found one count of aggravated indecent assault proven.
Allen, of Marty Avenue, Salamander Bay, was an upholsterer and driver at Port Stephens Coaches, a police statement said.
The company expected to keep Allen on as an upholsterer, a letter tendered to the court stated.
Allen was alone with the girl at a home on April 18 last year when he walked up behind her and put his hands on her hips, the court heard.
The girl said that Allen then put his hand in her pants and molested her, but Allen told police that he only touched the girl on the hips and any contact in her pants was accidental.
He previously pleaded not guilty, but was convicted following a hearing.
When asked by detectives during an interview if he wanted to pursue a relationship with the girl, Allen replied: "Oh possibly later on, yeah . . . you know, if she was amenable to it".
He also told police that he thought the girl "wanted to take it further".
The girl told police she was initially shocked then became upset and told a friend. Police were notified the next day.
Mr Chicken said Allen "perceived there was some encouragement from this young lady" and that Allen exercised "very poor judgment".
"These types of offences are extraordinarily serious," Mr Chicken said.
"They can have significant psychological impacts on the victims."
Mr Chicken declined to send Allen to jail because he had good rehabilitation prospects and the offence appeared a "momentary aberration".