A DAD who carried out a string of sexual assaults on teenage girls over a 12-year period has been given a suspended sentence.
Mark Ellis (43), of Yorkshire Close, Buckshaw Village, Chorley, but formerly of the Burnley area, was spared jail by a judge at Burnley Crown Court.
He had pleaded guilty to nine counts of indecent assault and sexual assault, between 1997 and 2009, at an earlier hearing.
Ellis targeted four victims between the ages of 15 and 19, grabbing one girl between the legs at the pub where she worked, and attempting to push another into a bedroom.
The court heard that he sent inappropriate text messages to the victims and groped one in a hot tub and another’s upper thigh under a table. He also kissed one girl’s neck after saying he liked her perfume.
In a victim personal statement one girl that said the attacks had caused a “massive black cloud over her teenage years”.
Judge Andrew Woolman said: “Your behaviour over these years was disgusting and predatory and there was a danger to any teenage girl that came within your space.
“It must have been horrendously upsetting for your family to discover what was going on.”
The judge said that he had taken into account the effect on the defendant’s family.
Ellis was given a 12-month custodial sentence, suspended for two years, and 12 months’ supervision. He was also disqualified from working with children.
Mr Andrew Nuttall (defending) said that Ellis, who had no previous convictions, was hard-working, had a good job and provided well for his family.
He said that he had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
“His family believes he is ultimately a decent man. The offences haven’t increased in severity or scale, they remained at that low level.”
Mr Nuttall said that Ellis’s wife had stood by him and their marriage was now even stronger.
Passing sentence, Judge Woolman added: “I’ve seen the personal victim statements from three of the victims. They were affected by what you did and profoundly affected to some extent.”