Two schoolgirls assaulted on buses between Gloucester and Forest of Dean
By Court reporter | 6th October 2023
A 70-year-old Romanian man who sexually assaulted two teenage schoolgirls when they were travelling on buses between Gloucester and the Forest of Dean last year has received a six month suspended jail term.
Gloucester Crown Court heard on Thursday (October 5) that electrical engineer Iaon Ciolovic offered one of the girls £150 to have sex with him after telling her she had a nice body and putting his hand on her thigh.
Nine days later he approached a 13 year old girl on the bus, lifted her top and stroked her stomach.
When he was later arrested he told police the girls had been provocative and were 'whores' but he denied any sexual contact with them.
Yesterday, Ciolovic, who arrived in the UK from Romania in 2016, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the two girls, one on November 30, 2022, and the other on December 9.
Imposing a six months jail sentence suspended for a year and ordering Ciolovic to do 200 hours of unpaid work, Judge Rupert Lowe told him he had behaved 'like a creepy old man.'
The judge also made a seven year sexual harm prevention order against Ciolovic, of Northgate Street, Gloucester, and placed him on the sex offenders register, also for seven years.
Prosecutor Giles Nelson told the court that on November 30, 2022, Ciolovic was travelling to his workshop in the Forest of Dean when he molested the first victim on the top deck of the bus.
"He had approached the girl, aged 15, while waiting in a queue at his bus stop in the city and told her she had a nice body," said Mr Nelson.
"He engaged in a short conversation with her while pointing at her skirt.
"The girl got onto the bus and sat at the back of the upper deck. Ciolovic followed and sat adjacent to the girl and continued talking to her. The girl had difficulty understanding what he was saying but she knows that he definitely offered her £100 to meet up with her for what she understood to be sex.
"She replied no and Ciolovic then increased his offer to £150. She maintained her stance and refused again. Ciolovic then placed his hand on her thigh, keeping it in position for a couple of seconds. This scared the girl, who wanted to burst into tears but managed to keep them at bay.
"Ciolovic then walked down the aisle and the girl effectively hid behind the seating while she phoned her mother, who in turn called the police. The girl also had the sense to take a picture of Ciolovic as she left the bus. She ran into a shop to take refuge for a short time, before making her way to school.
On December 9th, said the prosecutor, Ciolovic was on the top deck of the bus returning back to Gloucester when he began staring at a 13-year-old girl who was sitting a couple of rows behind him. One of her friends noticed this and told her and the girl immediately felt uncomfortable.
"Ciolovic reached out at the girl and grabbed at her cropped top and lifted it up slightly and stroked her stomach for a few seconds and told her she must be cold wearing that. The girl didn't respond because she was now scared.
"The girl's friend then challenged Ciolovic and forcibly told him he shouldn't be doing that. He was challenged again as they left the bus and he just replied 'Ok whatever'. The girl was visibly shaken by the incident and began crying."
Mr Nelson said both girls were too young to deal with such inappropriate approaches and they had responded with nervous embarrassment and were both upset.
The court heard that Ciolovic was arrested at his home address and in his police interview he stated that what the girls were wearing was provocative and said it was the girls' word against his. He added that the girls were whores.
Ciolovic denied any sexual contact during his actions.
Judge Rupert Lowe observed: "The girls were dressed in their school uniform. This would not have been provocative."
Catherine Spedding defending said: "Despite what is stated in his pre-sentence report, Ciolovic does now accept his guilt and now realises his behaviour is unacceptable.
"He has been on bail since his first court appearance with strict conditions not to travel on the buses during times when schoolchildren would be on board. There have been no further incidents.
"This offending is out of character for him. He travels to his workshop daily and as an electrical engineer he is working on developing a project for the National Grid, which he hopes will be adopted by the organisation in the future."
Ciolovic admitted the sexual assault on a 15-year-old girl on November 30, 2022 by touching her in a sexual manner when she did not consent and a similar assault on the 13-year-old girl on December 9, 2022.
Judge Lowe told Ciolovic: "It is a sad day to see an elderly man like you in the dock for the first time. But the reason you are there is because you've chosen to behave in a disgraceful and despicable sexualised way towards innocent school girls.
"You were behaving like a creepy old man when you approached these girls. They smiled defensively so as not to antagonise you in the hope that you would go away. You terrified them. Fortunately, one of them had then sense to take a photograph of you to identify you.
"The girls say that when they now see single men on the bus, they fear they will act like a pervert, just as you did. You on the other hand seemed satisfied by what you've done.
"When you were arrested you displayed a disgraceful arrogant attitude. 'It's the girl's word against mine' you told the police and denied all accusations, which you also repeated to the author of the pre-sentence report.
"No doubt you have denied it to your family as well. You are lying to everybody.
"You have displayed a particularly toxic combination of traits, selfish and cruel behaviour by putting your sexual fantasies above the welfare of school children. Your moral outrage about the girls' own presentation and behaviour, which there was nothing wrong with, and the complacent belief that you can lie and get away with it while they would not be believed, when they tell the truth.
"You should be thoroughly ashamed of these distressful traits. You've expressed no remorse for your offending.
"The two assaults, so close together, in my view makes it more than twice as serious. There is a huge age disparity between you and these teenage girls. You offered money to the first girl and took advantage of them both whilst they were travelling to and from school."
The judge ordered Ciolovic to attend 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days and pay court costs of £1,200.
"I am not ordering any compensation as I imagine the girls' wouldn't want to touch any money from you and under these circumstances I don't feel it appropriate as it would be insulting to them," added Judge Lowe.
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