A NEW father who sexually assaulted a teenage girl as she slept in his car must carry out unpaid work.

Reece Johnson, of Duntocher Road, was in the dock at Dumbarton Sheriff Court last week to hear his fate after he pled guilty last month.

Johnson took the 17-year-old for a drive at night.

She fell asleep on the back seat – and woke up to find him fondling her.

The 23-year-old was traced by police after the girl reported the assault to the campus police officer at her school.

He denied attacking the girl at Helensburgh Ferry Terminal, but gave police a DNA sample – which matched the girl’s clothing.

The court previously heard the girl contacted Johnson on Snapchat in the early hours of November 22, 2015, and asked if he wanted to take her for a drive after she had been drinking at a friend’s house.

Fiscal depute David McDonald told the court Johnson and his victim had become friends through Snapchat and would communicate occasionally via a group chat.

Mr McDonald said that on November 21, Johnson’s victim had been at a friend’s house, consuming a full half-bottle of vodka, a small bottle of Lucozade with vodka in it, and quantities of Cactus Jack and Jägermeister.

He said the girl, not wanting to be at home alone after the party ended, had messaged friends asking them to come and stay with her, and when nobody replied, she messaged Johnson asking if he wanted to take her for a drive.

Wearing pyjamas and a dressing gown, the girl went to Johnson’s car.

“The accused touched her bare thigh a number of times,” Mr McDonald told the court, “but she pushed his hand away.

When they got to Helensburgh she told the accused she was tired and was going to lie down. The accused said he would join her.

“She said ‘no, it’s fine, I’ll go on my own’, and climbed into the back seat and lay down.

“The next thing she remembers is her hand moving. She woke up and found the accused with his hand inside her shorts. “She pushed him away. The accused said ‘so we’re not going to have sex then?’, and she replied ‘no’.

“She was feeling scared and violated by what happened.”

Mr McDonald said the girl had messaged a friend to say she needed help, and had then told Johnson to drop her off at the friend’s house.

“She headed towards her friend’s house and broke down in tears,” Mr McDonald said.

Johnson was traced by police on December 4, when his vehicle was seized and he was taken to Clydebank police office to be interviewed.

Mr McDonald said: “He said he took her to Helensburgh pier, but he denied anything physical had happened.”

Edith Forrest, Johnson’s defence agent, said her client felt “terrible” about his actions and would take them back if he could.

She added: “He was living a law-abiding life, apart form a very minor motoring offence. He has not come to the attention of the authorities since that night.”

Ms Forrest said Johnson was in full-time work and was the sole earner for his family, making him the only financial support for his newborn.

Sheriff Maxwell Hendry told Johnson: “Until November 22, 2015 you were a effectively a law-abiding citizen. This moves you from that category.

“I should only send you to prison if I’m satisfied that there’s no other solution – I’m just, just satisfied there’s another.”

Johnson was placed on the sex offenders register for three years, ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work, reduced from 300, and was placed under the supervision of social work services for three years.