A BUS driver faces jail for sexually abusing schoolgirls as young as 13.
Mark Spalding, 29, has admitted committing sexual assaults on two foreign students and grooming and molesting two Brighton schoolgirls over a period of 19 months.
The offences took place while he was working for Brighton and Hove Buses.
Her Honour Shani Barnes warned Spalding at Lewes Crown Court that he faces prison when sentence is passed next month.
But in the meantime she granted bail after hearing Spalding acts as carer for his mother who has dementia.
A family member of one of Spalding’s victims told The Argus: “It broke me when I was told where he touched her.
“I left the room, it was all I could take.
“She was 14.
“I felt like I’d failed to defend my family.”
He called Spalding a “Jekyll and Hyde” character.
He added: “He shows you one side of himself that he wants you to see and you don’t see the other side.
He said he was disappointed by the judge’s decision to bail the paedophile.
“It’s like giving him a month’s grace,” he added.
His wife was equally upset when she heard Spalding would not be taken straight into custody.
She said: “I felt physically sick when I heard that.”
Spalding, 29, of Whitehawk Way, Brighton, committed his crimes while his bus was idling at Brighton bus stops around Devil’s Dyke, Lewes Road and Falmer.
When he was first arrested he maintained his innocence through the much-delayed judicial process.
But last week he decided to change his plea.
The family of one of his victims said they “broke down with relief” when informed their daughter would not have to give evidence.
Spalding’s trial was due to begin at Lewes Crown Court later this month.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child aged between 13 and14 and one count of causing or inciting that child to engage in sexual activity.
He also pleaded guilty to the same three charges concerning a child aged between 14 and 15 and to two sexual assaults on women.
Kris Berlevy, prosecuting, explained a disc of evidence containing 50 pages of Facebook and text messages sent between Spalding and his victims needed to be presented to the court prior to sentencing.
Her Honour Shani Barnes told Spalding: “These are very serious offences which took place over a period of two years.”
She told his barrister his client could expect to receive a custodial sentence.
However in the meantime Spalding remains a free man.
The conditions of his bail forbid him from taking public transport, contacting his victims or their families and having any deliberate contact with anyone under the age of 18,
Martin Harris, director of Brighton and Hove Buses, issued a statement after the court hearing.
He said: “We co-operated fully with the police investigation.
“Since then we have introduced a safeguarding policy and a number of safeguarding measures.”