A CHEF “brushed against” a teenage waitress with his groin while working at Seton Sands Holiday Village.

Paul Salinger, 34, of Prestonpans, was working as a chef in the kitchen at the county caravan park, near Port Seton, when he deliberately pressed against two girls who had been employed as waiting staff.

One victim, who cannot be named due to legal reasons, told Edinburgh Sheriff Court that Salinger “brushed against her with his groin” when she was collecting meals from the kitchen area.

She also said that Salinger would stare at her while she worked shifts at the holiday park’s restaurant.

The South African national stood trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last Thursday, where he denied a total of five charges.

The father-of-two took to the witness stand himself, where he told the court he had worked in many busy kitchens during his career and it was inevitable that people would brush against each other.

He said he started at Seton Sands in February this year but was let go in May following the allegations.

Salinger, of Longdykes Road, said he could not remember any specific incidents but added: “If I had brushed against her I would have had pots, pans and bowls in my hand.”

The chef said it was most likely the girl had felt a bowl he was carrying that touched against her rear end.

He told the court: “I would never have done that – I would never have grabbed her bum.

“My body never touched them. And if I had touched them it would have been the pots and pans.

“What they are saying is just not me. I’ve no reason to touch anyone in that way.”

He said he had never been spoken to by park management about any complaints made against him and he was let go without any explanation.

Following all the evidence, Sheriff John Cook agreed to the defence motion to acquit Salinger on a charge of sexual assault on a woman which was alleged to have taken place at his previous employment at the Cakes & Shakes outlet in Musselburgh.

The sheriff also acquitted Salinger of a second alleged offence of making inappropriate comments and sexual gestures towards another woman at the same place.

But the sheriff told Salinger he was “satisfied beyond reasonable doubt” that he had sexually touched the two teenagers at Seton Sands and said to think otherwise would be “fanciful”.

Sheriff Cook added that the offences had been “deliberate sexual assaults and not accidental” and that the pots and pans excuse was “inherently unlikely”.

Sheriff Cook deferred full sentence on Salinger for the preparation of social work reports and a restriction of liberty order assessment.

The sheriff also placed Salinger on the sex offenders’ register for a period still to be decided.

Salinger was found guilty, following a summary trial, of sexually assaulting a teenager by seizing her by the bottom and squeezing it at Seton Sands Holiday Park on an occasion between March 1 and May 3.

He was also found guilty of pressing his body against a second girl, placing his hands on her waist, and rubbing his groin against her at the same location and between the same dates.