A Blenheim man was convicted on a charge of indecent assault after admitting the charge in the Blenheim District Court yesterday.
Judge Bruce Davidson told the 32-year-old vineyard worker that he "must have been dangerously close" to being charged with a more serious charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection after he simulated intercourse with a "much younger" female neighbour.
The man has interim name suppression.
Judge Davidson said between October 24 and 25 last year, the man's neighbour went to his house, where she fell asleep.
In the early hours of the morning he woke her up and indecently assaulted her by stroking her hair and back, and touching her breast area over her clothing. He then kissed her breasts through her clothing, before simulating intercourse with her and taking her into a bedroom where he touched her under her clothing.
Judge Davidson said the girl was angry and upset, and the incident had been a "significant breach of trust".
The pair had been in the same church community, and the defendant had since moved house twice so he was further away from the victim.
Judge Davidson said the support of the man's church community and family, his usually good character, his forth-coming guilty plea and his employment as mitigating factors when he gave him a sentencing indication.
He believed it was a "top end assault", which was sustained and involved skin-on-skin contact and said a starting point would be 18 months in prison.
But due to mitigating factors the man may face a sentence of home detention or community detention depending on suitability.
Judge Davidson remanded the man until March 19 for sentencing so the options could be explored. He subjected him to the three-strikes law.
- The Marlborough Express