Rotherham mayor accused of sex assault on 13-year-old girl was ‘a dirty pervert’, court hears

Former Rotherham mayor Barry Dodson at Sheffield Magistrates court
Former Rotherham mayor Barry Dodson at Sheffield Magistrates court
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A former mayor of Rotherham was a ‘dirty pervert’, a woman who says he sexually assaulted her when she was 13 has claimed.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Barry Dodson had been sent an email by his alleged victim on June 25 last year saying she was going to report him to the police so people would know ‘what type of man you are’.

Dodson quit as mayor on June 28 citing ‘personal reasons’.

Dodson, aged 67, of Cranworth Road, East Dene, is on trial for an indecent assault said to have been carried out in the summer of 1987.

He denies carrying out the attack at the grounds of Boston Castle in Rotherham. It is alleged he invited the girl to help him with making a wedding video, which was his job at the time.

The court heard Dodson put his hand up the girl’s skirt and sexually assaulted her, before asking for a kiss and then trying to get her to touch him.

In police interviews played to the jury, the complainant said that after the incident, he said she must not tell anyone what happened.

“He said I wasn’t allowed to tell anybody because nobody would believe me and he would get into a lot of trouble,” she said.

The complainant in the case sent an email to Dodson last year before reporting the matter to police after finding out he was the new mayor of Rotherham.

In the email, which was read to court, she told Dodson: “Your life gets better and better, while mine just gets worse.

“Think it is about time people knew what type of man you are - a dirty pervert.

“What you did to me has haunted me since I was 13.

“In order for me to move on, I need to put this ghost to rest. I’m a stronger person now and I realise what you did to me that day at Boston Castle was wrong.”

She said she was going to report him to the police due to him being able to come into contact with children through his mayoral duties and a karate club he ran.

The complainant added: “You have ruined my life, I think it is about time I returned the favour. I can’t live with what you did to me anymore. Why should you have a great life and carry on like you never did anything to me? This isn’t a threat Barry, it is a promise.”

In the police interview video played to the jury, the woman, who cannot be named, was asked by officers how she felt after the incident.

She said: “I was shocked. I did want to shout. It was as if I was trying to shout and nothing was coming out.”

She added: “Why’s he doing it to me? What have I done wrong?”

She said: “I felt scared. I’m still scared of him now. He petrifies me. When I see his face it just scares me.

“If I’m in town shopping, I’m constantly looking over my shoulder.”

The woman said what happened to her has affected the whole of her life.

She said: “I can’t bear to be in a room on my own with a male.”

The police asked why she did not report the assault when it happened.

She told them: “I felt scared and because of what he said to me that people wouldn’t believe me and he would get into trouble.”

Asked why she decided to report the incident last year, she said: “To me he’d to be stopped. I couldn’t let him do to another child what he did to me.”

She said: “I just thought, ‘I can’t let him get away with this any more’.”

Dodson sat in the dock to listen to the opening day of his trial wearing a dark suit over a grey shirt and red-striped tie.

The ex-Rotherham East councillor resigned from Labour last July but after staying on as an independent, leaving the council earlier this year following the elections.

The trial continues.