April 2018

Man who groped ‘vulnerable’ 12-year-old girl jailed for nine months

A pervert has been sentenced to nine months in prison for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.

Preston Crown Court heard how the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was groped through her clothes by Robert Jack Cope, 30, in September.

In a statement, the victim described sleep as her ‘enemy’ and revealed how the incident had affected her life.

Jane Dagnall, prosecuting, said the victim was scared of sitting next to boys at school.

She said: “The impact statement says she struggles to get to sleep. Her mind goes back to what happened.

“She cannot relax. She said ‘everything seems so strange’.”

Cope was found guilty, by a jury at a trial, of sexually assaulting a girl.

Rachel Cooper, defending, said Cope, of Vincent Street in the Ewood area of Blackburn, had previously been looked on as a man of good character.

She said: “He has never been in trouble before.

“He has lost his good character.

“He’s left his current employment via mutual agreement.

“In terms of employment, he will have to find some.

“His work involved being with vulnerable adults. He will have to find other employment as that door has closed.”

Cope was placed on the sex offenders register.

Judge Lloyd said: “You took advantage of (the victim’s) vulnerability.

“You were viewed as a nice man. This is not the way a good man behaves in any circumstances.

“You touched her on the first occasion on September 10.

“You sexually assaulted her not in the greatest manner, but (the victim) knew well enough what you did to her was wrong and so did you. She told her teacher at school.

“(The groping) was over clothing. She knows it’s not her fault.

“Your references said they trust you with their children, the same reference sees good in you.

“This was a sexual act against a 12-year-old girl. It was quite deliberate.”