A LABOUR councillor in Rotherham has been found guilty of grabbing a female senior council official’s bottom and squeezing it with both hands.
Andrew Roddison, 41, grabbed the woman while he was giving her a hug at a high profile council event in May, this year, a court heard.
A judge told Roddison the explanations for his behaviour were “unconvincing”
Giving evidence at the one day trial today at Leeds Magistrates Court, the complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said Roddison grabbed her left buttock first and then both buttocks, squeezing them and lifting her to her tip toes.
Speaking from behind a screen the woman was sobbing as she recounted the events at the Rotherham Town Hall.
She told the court: “It was my left cheek and then he dropped both hands and he squeezed my bottom.
“He dropped his right arm, I was surprised, and then he dropped two hands, squeezing my bottom,” she said.
Adding: “I put my hands up and said you can’t do that.”
The court heard when she told Roddison he can’t do that, he just laughed and said “I do it to everybody, men included”.
The court heard the complainant felt shocked, upset and embarrassed by the incident, which happened in a room of about 100 people.
Roddison, a father-of-two who has been a Rotherham councillor in the Brinsworth and Catcliffe ward since 2011, pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault at an earlier hearing.
The complainant’s husband was also in attendance at the event and he told the court he saw Roddison grab hold of his wife’s rear end and squeeze it.
Speaking from the witness box, he said he was on the other side of the room but he saw Roddison had just “grabbed her bottom, right at the bottom and lifted her on to her tip toes”.
He told the court that he immediately went over to his wife to ask her who that man was, and told her he wanted to speak to him.
Describing Roddison, a former civil servant, as looking “shifty” and “guilty”, he added: “I was very, very annoyed, I started physically shaking.”
The complainant’s husband went over to Roddison and told him he wanted a word with him.
They both went into a corridor and he said: “I said to him if you ever touch my wife like that again you’d regret it, what you did was totally unacceptable.”
He went on to say Roddison had his hands up and replied: “Yeah it was totally inappropriate it won’t happen again.”
The court were shown footage, without sound,of the alleged bottom squeeze and the conversation between Roddison and the complainant’s husband in the corridor.
Simon Waley, prosecuting, said: “He (Roddison) said one of his hands was a bit low and her brushed her bottom and he apologised.”
He added the defendant denies squeezing the woman’s bottom, and while he admitted the talk in the corridor with the complainant’s husband he claims he was only apologising about hugging her.
District Judge David Kitson said he found both the complainant and her husband to be “truthful and reliable witnesses and I accept their evidence”
He added: “On the other hand I was less impressed with Mr Roddison’s evidence, I found him to be dissembling and he tried to offer explanations of his behaviour which I found unconvincing.”
Judge Kitson was satisfied the defendant did intentionally touch the defendant, the touching was sexual and she did not consent.
This being the case, he found the charge proved.
Giving evidence, Roddison said: ‘I’m not a touch feely person.”
He added: ‘I don’t like hugging people so I wouldn’t consider groping someone”
Roddison will be sentenced on December 1, and was told he would getting a community order.