Women groped and sexually assaulted by former Devon County Council leader praised for 'strength and courage'

Brian Greenslade
Brian Greenslade was sentenced to 16 months in prison. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police.

The victims of a prominent politician who groped and sexually assaulted women have been praised for their "strength and courage" in reporting him.

Former Devon County Council leader Brian Greenslade assaulted his victims in a professional setting, leaving them fearing they would get into trouble if they raised the issue.

The incidents happened in the 1990s and 2000s when Greenslade, of Marwood, held a number of "positions of trust".

The 72-year-old denied any wrongdoing but, following a trial at Exeter Crown Court, a jury found him guilty of three charges:

  • indecently assaulting a woman in Exeter between January 1994 and December 1995

  • indecently assaulting a woman in Barnstaple between January 1994 and December 1995

  • sexually assaulting a woman in Exeter between June 2005 and January 2006.

He was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Councillor Brian Greenslade also served as chair of the police authority. Credit: Devon County Council

Greenslade put his hand down his first victim's trousers and tried to kiss her during in the mid-1990s.

He groped the breast of his second victim at County Hall in Exeter in the mid-2000s.

The third charge relates to an incident when Greenslade was working as an accountant in the 1990s.

Detective Chief Inspector Alexandra Doughty from Devon and Cornwall Police said his three victims had shown "strength and courage" in coming forward about his crimes.

"All three victims were sexually assaulted in the course of their work in professional settings," she said.

“A common narrative exists that the victims felt that they themselves would get into trouble if the issue was raised, let alone reported to the police.

“The main reason given was through fear of negative repercussion to their own careers and the feeling that they would get into trouble, or that it was not the ‘done’ thing – people ‘didn’t speak up back then’.

“Perhaps even more tragic was the fact that the victims knew that the man who had committed these crimes against them was a well-known, well-respected public figure who held a number of positions of trust.

Greenslade was arrested by police in 2018. Credit: BPM

“The position that this man held enabled him to commit sexual assaults against these women over a period of years.

“Although not recent, the timing of this case is never more so relevant with recent publicity around the theme violence and abuse against women.

“The victims of Brian Greenslade have demonstrated strength and courage in coming forward and allowing the police to carry out a thorough investigation.”

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