AN ASSISTANT store manager who sexually assaulted five female colleagues whilst working at well known high street shopping chains has dodged a prison sentence.
Andrew Docherty (28) targeted the females, who cannot be named for legal reasons, whilst working at various branches of Home Bargains in Fife.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Docherty also placed another two women in a state of fear and alarm during a course of criminal conduct which took place between 2007 and 2015.
The court heard that whilst working for the Morrisons supermarket chain in Fife, Docherty followed one 26-year-old female worker around a store. He then prevented her from leaving the shop.
On another occasion whilst working at Home Bargains, he uttered derogatory remarks towards a woman who was left alarmed by what she had heard.
On Monday, judge Lord Malcolm handed the first offender a three year Community Payback Order.
The judge told Docherty that as part of the order, he would have to perform 250 hours unpaid work in the community.
Docherty was also told he would be supervised by the authorities for three years. He will also have to attend a course to help sex offenders learn about their offending behaviours.
Passing sentence, Lord Malcolm told Docherty that there was a number of factors explaining why he chose to impose a community payback order.
He said these included Docherty’s lack of previous convictions and the assessment made by court appointed social workers that the offender didn’t need to be sent to prison.
He added: “I’m satisfied that on reflection that this matter can be dealt with on a cumulo basis with a community payback order disposal. This is a direct alternative to a prison sentence.
“Should you not comply with the terms of this order you an be brought back to this court and be sentenced for this court as if these were new offences.
“You could be sent to prison if you do not comply with this order.”
Sentence had been deferred on Docherty, of St Andrews, for the court to obtain reports on his character.
Jurors returned guilty verdicts to a string of sexual assault charges following trial at the High Court last month.
A woman who was sexually assaulted by Docherty at the same branch of Home Bargains told the court about how she was pregnant at the time she was abused.
The 26-year-old female added: “I went to the stock room through the back in Home Bargains and he had grabbed me by the chest and twisted my nipple.
“I told him it wasn’t funny because he laughed. He laughed at me.
“I just remember him grabbing me by the chest. He was at the back of me. I was going out. It was near the front of my breast. He twisted my nipple.”
The woman told the court that it was “agony”. She said her breasts were getting sore because of her pregnancy.
She said: “I was shocked and embarrassed at what he did.”
The woman said said Docherty also called her a MILF. She told the court that she didn’t know what it meant but asked her mother and was “disgusted” when she discovered what it meant.
She said that on another occasion she had finished a shift and was down on her knees to pick up her belongings.
The court heard that Docherty approached her and pulled her head towards his crotch.
She said: “That made me feel really, really disgusted.”
The woman later told him in a social media message that he was a “sick, disgusting creature.”
Docherty later went to work at a branch of Farmfoods in Fife.
He targeted a 22-year-old woman who worked alongside him between March 1, 2014 and October 2, 2014.
She said: “He put his hand up my work shirt, like to the back of my bra. I think he thought it was a joke.
“There were a couple of occasions he dragged me around the shop by my bra.
“There was one occasion where he put his hand up the back of my work shirt. My bra became unclipped.”
On Monday, defence advocate Drew McKenzie told the court that his client currently works for Aldi. He said the supermarket chain were disciplining Docherty.
Mr McKenzie added: “He has informed me that if he loses his job with Aldi he will seek employment in another field.
He does take responsibility for his actions and is willing to undertake work in the community.”