A senior social worker who sexually assaulted a colleague during a church meeting has been ordered to pay his victim £500.
Perth childcare specialist George LeBlanc was placed on the Sex Offenders Register earlier this month after he was found guilty of touching a female workmate’s leg under the table.
The 63-year-old tried to dismiss the incident as a practical joke that was badly received.
“I’m a bit of a joker,” he told Perth Sheriff Court.
LeBlanc, who retired in 2018, was described by his 57-year-old victim as “a good team leader” who became “touchy-feely and inappropriate.”
He returned to court for sentencing and Sheriff Linda Smith told him: “Obviously, it is a concern that a gentleman of your age and of the position you held finds yourself getting into this kind of trouble.”
She issued a compensation order of £500 and placed LeBlanc, of Hillend Road, Perth, on supervision for one year.
He will stay on the Sex Offenders Register for 12 months.
Woman assaulted in church centre
The attack happened in September 2016 at Bankfoot Church Centre, the trial heard.
The woman said: “We were sat at the table when I felt something brush past my knee.
“I thought: ‘No, no it can’t be’.
“I thought maybe I was being over-sensitive.”
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “I moved my leg away but then his hand came over to the top of my thigh.
“I just stood right up and I stared at him.
“I just wanted to kick his chair or punch him in the face but I just stood up and left the room.
“He just stared ahead, as if nothing had happened.”
After reporting the incident to Perth and Kinross Council, she confront LeBlanc and told him:
“Do no touch me again.”
Devastating effect on victim’s life
A year after LeBlanc retired, the woman was at lunch with colleagues.
“One of them mentioned George and laughed about how he used to touch my leg under the table,” she said.
“I just imploded. I was just shocked and felt humiliated.
“It just felt that all this was being thrown back in my face. It was the last straw.”
The woman was signed off sick for eight months and eventually left her job, the court heard.
“My head was just buzzing, I couldn’t sleep,” she said.
“I was exhausted.”
Criminal laughed off the assault
LeBlanc told the trial he touched his victim to try and liven up the meeting.
“It was getting near the end of the day, everyone was getting tired,” he said from the witness box.
“I just tried this silly joke.
“I didn’t get the response I thought I was going to get. It fell flat on its face.”
Solicitor Billy Somerville urged the court not to send his client to jail.
“I would suggest that this does not reach the level of a custodial sentence,” he said.
LeBlanc was found guilty after a one-day trial of sexually assaulting the woman by placing his hand on her leg and moving it towards her inner thigh.