A pervert who groped a woman outside the Grand Hotel then had a whinge to police when he was busted has been spared a jail sentence.
Rod Carpenter, an unemployed 57-year-old from Balgownie, was handed a nine-month intensive correction order in Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday after claiming the incident was a case of "mistaken identity".
The court heard the 34-year-old victim was standing outside the hotel on December 11 when Carpenter walked up behind her, reached between her legs and grabbed her on the crotch with his right hand.
She spun around and confronted him, yelling "Jesus, what the f--k?"
Carpenter walked a few steps down the road before turning around, prompting the woman to tell him "go f--k yourself". Carpenter responded by saying "what are you going to do about it" then walked off.
The woman reported the matter to police a few days later. Officers obtained video footage of the incident and arrested Carpenter at the Cabbage Tree Hotel in Fairy Meadow on the afternoon of December 23.
Police said Carpenter continually muttered under his breath "this is f--king bullshit, I can't believe this" during the arrest before saying "what? Pinch a sheila on the bum? What's wrong with that?"
He told police he thought the victim was someone else.
Carpenter was charged with sexual touching without consent and pleaded guilty.
In court on Tuesday, defence lawyer Darryl Quirk said Carpenter acknowledged he "shouldn't have done it" and said it would "never happen again".
As part of the court order, Carpenter will be referred for psychological counselling and drug and alcohol treatment if needed.