This is one of the worst stories I’ve ever heard — some awkward kid who doesn’t know how to talk to people, trying to do it and facing sex crime charges.
A “very anxious” university student who Googled “how to make new friends” is facing jail after he touched a 17-year-old schoolgirl on the arm and waist as he was “lonely”.
Jamie Griffiths, 19, a student at Durham University, came into contact with the girl during two encounters as she walked to and from school.
…The victim, who was due to sit her mock A Levels, burst into tears during the second encounter.
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She immediately rang her mum and they then went and reported the incident to the police.
The victim told how she now “panics” when she sees a lone man walking towards her and struggles to leave the house alone.
At Manchester magistrates court, Griffiths – who lives with his parents in Knutsford – was convicted of two charges of sexual assault.
He had denied the charges.
The 19-year-old will be sentenced later this month and also faced being ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register.
The offence carries a maximum sentence of ten years jail if dealt with at a crown court.
…Griffiths, who had been volunteering at a charity shop, told the court his intention was to “make a friend”.
He said: “I was lonely… I just wanted to speak to someone.”
The university student added: “She was walking towards me and I recognised her, I didn’t say anything but I really wanted to say something – the words just didn’t come out. I touched her but I believed that it was the arm I was touching”.
Griffiths said he struggled to make friends and had “always been a very anxious person”.
He told the court he’d looked up “how to make new friends” online.
…Convicting Griffiths, magistrates told him: “The complainant’s evidence was very clear, logical and without embellishment. We can think of no motivation for you to touch the victim other than sexual.
They can’t think of any motivation to touch the girl other than a sexual one? I guess the magistrates have never heard of “kino.” If he had grabbed her behind or her breast, sure, lock him up, but the arm and waist? Really? If doing cringey things while learning to talk to people in general and women, in particular, was a crime, 3/4 of the male population would be in jail.
That doesn’t mean I’m saying this shy kid did things the right way, because he didn’t, but we have to allow more room for human beings to learn to connect with other people than this. We can’t just expect everyone to be smooth, have game and understand the nuances of every social situation without a lot of practice — and even when you are good at it, you still make mistakes sometimes.
Read this and tell me this kid belongs in jail as opposed to just being taught how to interact with people.
“I have always been a very anxious person, my friends all seem to really know what to do and I never really asked of them how they did it.
“I have always been more stay at home with my parents and loneliness is all consuming. I really needed someone to talk to at the time and my intention was to make a friend – but I clearly didn’t go about it the right way and I am sorry for the misunderstanding.
”I tried to speak to her but I just couldn’t. My anxiety kicks in and it makes it impossible to say anything. She just so happened to be walking home from school those times and I have not targeted her. I would hate to make someone feel uncomfortable of scared I would absolutely hate that. Maybe it is time to try to make friends another way.”