South Scotland

Melrose pub owner jailed for series of sex assaults

The Ship Inn Image copyright David Purchase
Image caption Keith McDonald committed the offences at the Ship Inn which he owned

A pub owner from the Borders who indecently assaulted two staff members and a customer has been jailed for eight months.

Keith McDonald was also placed on the sex offender's register for 10 years after being told he had "abused his position as an employer".

At Selkirk Sheriff Court the 48-year-old was found guilty of committing the offences at the Ship Inn in Melrose.

He was human resources manager at the pub where his wife was licensee.

The court was told he repeatedly indecently assaulted one female employee between 2001 and 2011 by touching her breasts and buttocks which meant she tried to avoid contact with him.

In 2007, McDonald indecently assaulted another female by touching her in a sexual nature. She immediately left her job.

'Criminal behaviour'

He was also found guilty of uttering sexual remarks to staff members over a 10-year period and on one occasion exposed himself in front of members of the public and two female members of staff.

On July 14 last year McDonald sexually assaulted an 18-year-old female customer in the pub by touching her breasts and putting his hand inside her clothing before another customer brought the incident to an end.

Defence lawyer Veronica Dow admitted her client had "an out-dated and old fashioned view on how to speak to women in a professional environment".

She added: "He did not think he was doing anything wrong. But he was wrong in that assessment of the situation."

Sheriff Janys Scott told McDonald that as the human resources manager he took responsibility for hiring staff.

She said: "You abused your position as an employer. It was not frivolous or a joke. It was criminal behaviour."

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