Care home worker cleared of groping colleagues

Darlington and Stockton Times: NOT GUILTY: Ashley Douglass NOT GUILTY: Ashley Douglass

A CARE home worker accused of sexually assaulting two of his female colleagues has been cleared.

Ashley Douglass (CORR), 20, denied five charges, telling the bench at Teesside Magistrates’ Court that he’d had good professional relationships with both women but he had never touched them inappropriately.

Mr Douglass said he had had known he was gay since the age of 13 and 'came out' in 2011.

“All the staff in the care home are aware of my sexuality, I have never been attracted to women," he said.

"So I have no idea why they would say these things. It’s not in my nature and it’s not in my character, I was brought up to respect others.”

Mr Douglass of Roseberry Road in Redcar denied touching the breast of one of the women at work last year and groping her breasts again later the same day, he also shunned allegations he had "tickled" the lower part of her bottom in a separate incident.

Mr Douglass also denied touching the breasts of another alleged victim last year at the care home in Cleveland where they were employed and denied grabbing her bottom on a different occasion.

“When I was arrested it made me feel shocked, I was very anxious and very nervous,” he told Amy Dixon, defending.

“I did not know what was going on and why it was going on.”

Under cross-examination by Guy Prest, prosecuting, he said he had enjoyed having a laugh with colleagues during breaks but maintained that the allegations were false.

Both women said the defendant had giggled after the alleged assaults had taken place.

Taking to the witness box, one of the women said: “There are two main reasons why I came forward.

"One was when I heard about the second person in this case and that made me angry.

"And I suddenly thought I am working with vulnerable adults, people who cannot defend themselves.

"If he is capable of doing this to us what else is he capable of? I have a duty to report it to someone.”

However, after deliberating for two hours the magistrates’ bench returned a not guilty verdict after the day-long trial stating that the two women had discrepancies in their versions of events.

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