One of Cambridgeshire's oddest traditions gets under way this morning...
Former Mayor Cleared Of Sex Assault
Former mayor of Rotherham Barry Dodson has described being accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl as "absolutely terrible'' after he was cleared by a jury.
The woman, who is now in her 40s, told Sheffield Crown Court that Barry Dodson indecently assaulted her in 1987.
But Mr Dodson, 67, denied it ever happened and was cleared by a jury of five men and seven women after just over two hours of deliberating.
Speaking outside the court, he said:
"It's been absolutely terrible, not just for me but for all my family.''
Mr Dodson stepped down from his role as mayor in July last year after just three weeks in office.
Asked if he would want to stand for election again, and even become mayor once more, he said:
"Watch this space.''
And asked if the accusation had ruined his life, he said: ``Of course it has, yes.''
Mr Dodson's solicitor, Steve Smith, said:
"One thing they have not taken away from him is his character.
"He walks out of this court a free man and an innocent man.
"In Rotherham, the town and our people get a very bad press because of a very small minority.
During a four-day trial, the complainant said Mr Dodson assaulted her at Boston Castle in Rotherham during a trip to scout out a wedding video location.
The woman said she decided to come forward after she read that he had become mayor.
She denied that she had a grudge against the former councillor.
Dodson, of Cranworth Road, East Dene, told the jury the incident never happened and that he never went to Boston Castle with the girl.
He was cleared of one count of indecent assault.
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