Bruno Luan Soares Mello convicted of sex assault on sleeping man

First published in News by , Court reporter

A Brazilian postgraduate will return to his country in disgrace later this month after he was convicted of sexually molesting a sleeping young man.

Biologist Bruno Luan Soares Mello, 22, went into the room where the victim was asleep in the early hours of September 3, a York jury heard.

David Hall, prosecuting, said that as Mello sexually assaulted the other man, the victim awoke, realised what was happening and “booted” Mello.

The jury heard that when asked what had happened, Mello replied: “I don’t know. I have never done that before.”

He claimed he had only gone into the room to put a cover over the other man to stop him getting cold, and denied sexual assault.

The PhD student was partway through a six-month placement at the University of York with his tuition, accommodation and travel fees paid for by the Brazilian authorities, who are aware of his arrest and charge and will be told of his conviction and sentence.

He has an air ticket to Brazil on December 28 when his student visa expires and will be listed on the British sex offenders’ register for seven years.

Recorder Bernard Gateshill said: “Who can say what caused this defendant to behave in a moment of madness as he did?”

He passed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

A spokesman for the University of York said: “When the university was made aware of this case, we carried out a full risk assessment and took appropriate action to ensure the safety of the university community.

“From the university’s perspective, we do not propose to take any further action at this stage as the visiting student’s involvement with us will finish at the end of term on 14 December.”

Mello’s barrister, Ruth Cranidge, said he was of “positive good character” and other people spoke well of him. He had been suspended for three weeks from his studies after his arrest, but since then had been allowed to continue with them.

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