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Man admits to sexual harassment charge

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: December 27, 2012

A MAN has been banned from "making any sexual gestures or actions" in public after his obscene actions at work were outlined to city magistrates.

Colin Patch was given a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order by a court after he admitted harassing a woman without violence.

The order states that the 63-year-old from Rockbeare is forbidden from making "sexually intimidating and/or sexual gestures, actions, motions or other movements in any public place which you know, or ought to know, will cause alarm, harassment or distress to any person".

The order was made as part of his punishment after the farm worker harassed a married office worker during his tea breaks.

It also applies to his workplace after the court heard that he was still working for the same company – along with his victim who has moved to another site. Exeter magistrates heard Patch would go into the office on a regular basis for his tea break and start pleasuring himself behind where the woman, in her 30s, was sitting at her desk.

She doubted herself when she caught him out, but then set up a webcam in order to capture the evidence.

Prosecutor Mark Haddow told the court the SOPO must address Patch's offending so that not "all men were tarred with the same brush".

Caroline Salvatore, defending, said the SOPO was designed to protect people from serious sexual harm as opposed to protecting someone with an "eggshell personality being upset by needless scratching of your bottom".

The court heard Patch was caught red handed and then admitted to police that he had done it "50 to 60 times after he started fancying the victim who had split up recently from her husband".

The court decided not to view a 23-minute video which showed what Patch was doing.

He told police he "began to have sexual feelings" for the woman in the last seven months.

And he also admitted doing the same thing 30 years ago to a previous boss's wife before he was made redundant.

The court heard anyone could have walked into the reception area at the agricultural firm near Exeter, or spotted Patch through a window.

The court heard Patch was a "loner who lived with his elderly mother" and had "not had many relationships".

Patch admitted the single harassment charge and the court gave him a two year community order with supervision to address his sexual offending.

He was also given a two year restraining order not to contact the victim or to go in fields around her rural home.

Mr Haddow said the fact that Patch was still working for the firm was "unbelievable".

But he added that it may be seen as the "Christian thing to do".

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