South Scotland

Dumfries Little Italy boss guilty of sex assault

The boss of an award-winning restaurant has been found guilty of sexually assaulting four former waitresses.

Robert McAleese, 38, who runs Little Italy in Dumfries, was placed on the sex offenders' register following the verdict at Dumfries Sheriff Court.

Sheriff Brian Mohan said he accepted the credibility of the four waitresses who said his actions left them upset, frightened and confused.

McAleese, of Cairn Court, Dumfries, will be sentenced next month.

He was found guilty of three charges of sexually assaulting three waitresses at the restaurant between December 2012 and December 2013.

He slapped one of the women on the buttocks, seized her by the hips and lifted her off the ground.

Another woman was grabbed by the hips and pulled towards him. He brushed against the buttocks of a third woman and made sexual comments to her.

McAleese was also found guilty of assaulting another former waitress at Chancers nightclub in Dumfries in November 2013 by putting his hand up her skirt.

The trial began in October, just hours after his restaurant picked up a prize at the Scottish Italian Awards.

The restaurateur had maintained that he enjoyed banter and jokes with staff.

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