Victim felt violated and ‘powerless’

A man who sexually assaulted a woman who gave him a lift home from a bar left her feeling powerless and violated, a court has heard.

Kristen John Gould (33) appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday, having admitted a charge of indecent assault.

Judge David Robinson said he had considered sentencing the defendant to community detention (a curfew), but he did not want to interfere with the man’s work schedule and thus indirectly punish his wife and children.

Gould, of Mosgiel, received 200 hours’ community work and nine months’ supervision, to ensure he continued the counselling he had started — a "significant sentence", the judge said.

On November 13, the defendant was drinking at a Mosgiel bar and throughout the evening made lewd comments to several women.

After more than eight hours’ socialising he got a ride home and continued his crass behaviour with the female driver.

First, Gould asked the victim if she had a boyfriend, then when he was alone with her he made explicit references to sex acts and said he wanted to kiss her.

"I felt powerless ... I did not know what he was capable of," the victim said in a statement.

As Gould was leaving the vehicle, he leaned over and gripped the victim’s upper thigh.

"His fingers touched her genital area on the outside of her clothing," court documents said.

The defendant then lunged in for a kiss.

But the driver repelled him, pushing his shoulder.

Gould made "slow work" of getting out of the vehicle and continued his barrage of X-rated comments.

"What about a quickie?" he asked.

The victim firmly declined and eventually Gould closed the door, allowing her to drive away.

"There was a persistence in what you did ... You wouldn’t take no for an answer," the judge said.

Since the attack, she had struggled to sleep and had "zero trust" in people she did not know, the victim said.

After he pleaded guilty, though, the parties sat down for a restorative justice conference in which the defendant agreed to make a donation to Starship Hospital.

Judge Robinson said he hoped the meeting was therapeutic for all, including Gould’s wife who continued to support him.

He accepted the sex attack was an "isolated incident" and was sure the defendant was truly remorseful, the judge said.

The judge declined an Otago Daily Times application to photograph the defendant.

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