THE former mayor of Rotherham has described an accusation of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl as “absolutely terrible” after he was cleared by a jury.
The girl, who is now in her 40s, told Sheffield Crown Court that Barry Dodson indecently assaulted her in 1987.
But Mr Dodson, 67, denied the incident ever happened and was cleared by a jury of five men and seven women after just over two hours of deliberating.
Speaking outside the court, he said: “It’s been absolutely terrible, not just for me but for all my family.”
Mr Dodson stepped down from his role as mayor in July last year after just three weeks in office. He did not stand for re-election to the council in June.
Asked if he would want to stand for election again, and even become mayor once more, he said: “Watch this space.”
And asked if the accusation had ruined his life, he said: “Of course it has, yes.”
Mr Dodson’s solicitor, Steve Smith, said: “One thing they have not taken away from him is his character.
“In Rotherham, the town and our people get a very bad press because of a very small minority.
“This is one case where at least we’ve tried to redress the balance. He can now walk with his head held high. We never doubted his innocence for one minute.”
During a four-day trial, the complainant said Mr Dodson assaulted her at Boston Castle in Rotherham during a trip to scout out a wedding video location.
The woman said she decided to come forward after she read that he had become mayor.
She denied that she had a grudge against the former councillor.
Dodson, of Cranworth Road, East Dene, told the jury the incident never happened and that he never went to Boston Castle with the girl. He was cleared of one count of indecent assault.