A 59-year-old Derry man who was 'let down by the system' will spend three years on probation for sexually assaulting a vulnerable woman in her own home.
Alan Rodgers, whose address was given as Glen Court, was also described as a vulnerable individual who has only recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.
The victim in the case was a woman in her early 60's.
Derry Crown Court heard that the defendant has struggled throughout his life without appropriate support and has been 'let down by the system', according to a psychiatrist.
Judge Philip Babington said: "One could perhaps say if he hadn't been let down by the system this (the sexual assault) might not have happened at all.
“That is a sad reflection of the system."
Rodgers pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman between September 3-6, 2013.
The court heard that he and the victim had a 'mutually beneficial' friendship and met on a weekly basis.
One night Rodgers was in the woman's home watching TV when he kissed her.
The following night he returned and told her he was staying.
The defendant was asked to leave but he ignored the victim’s request.
Rodgers proceeded to get into bed beside the woman, wearing just his boxer shorts and removed them a short time later claiming he was too hot.
The 59-year-old went around to the woman’s side of the bed and undressed her.
The court said that as a result of the victim’s difficulties what happened next is a 'matter of conjecture' but Rodgers was said to have touched the woman in a sexual manner.
The victim felt that he did something bad to her and described it as a 'naughty thing'.
Rodgers was subsequently arrested and during police interview claimed he did not know the woman.
Defence counsel Eilis McDermott QC said her client is a 'socially vulnerable' and 'naive individual' who has no previous convictions.
She said he was recently examined by the Spectrum Diagnostic Assessment and Therapy Centre in Dungannon and has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.
The barrister told the court a specialist psychiatrist found that Rodgers lacks awareness of social dangers and situations.
He has great difficulty in expressing himself and comprehending what others are saying to him, and finds it difficult to see things from others perspective.
Ms McDermott said the defendant requires assistance and this would not only benefit him but also the public because 'any risk he may pose would be reduced'.
Imposing the three-year probation order, Judge Babington said it was clear Rodgers 'needs help and support going forward'.
He added: "The court has a duty to punish, rehabilitate and generally assist the defendant where possible."
Rodgers will also be subject to the notification requirements of the sex offenders register for five years.
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