Former leader of Worcestershire County Council charged with sexual assault

Former leader of Worcestershire County Council charged with sexual assault

A disgraced ex-Tory council leader on Thursday admitted molesting a teenage girl more than 30 years ago and groping another junior member of staff in the town hall while he was in office.

Dr George Lord, 79, former head of Worcestershire County Council, assaulted the girl – aged either 14 or 15 – between 1977 and 1979 while he was a church preacher.

Lord, from Bromsgrove, Worcs., had already been convicted of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old girl in the council chamber while he was leader in 2010.

Reporting restrictions have only just been lifted to allow the media to report on the latest case.

A previous hearing was told Lord assaulted the girl by ”touching her bottom and vagina” without her consent.

Lord on Thursday pleaded guilty to three charges of indecent assault at Birmingham Crown Court.

Lord, wearing a dark shirt and grey tie, stared straight ahead during the 10-minute hearing.

He admitted indecently assaulting a 14 or 15-year-old girl between September 1977 and 1979.

Lord was remanded into custody for pre-sentence reports and was warned he faces a prison sentence.

Judge Nigel Godsmark QC told him: “You have pleaded guilty to three charges of indecent assault.

“I am adjourning this case so that a pre-sentence report may be compiled, not only to tell me about your previous standing but also to tell me if you present a risk to women.”

Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector Jon Wallis, of West Mercia Police, said: “While these two cases were separated by many years, in both George Lord has abused a position of authority.

“In the first case in the 1970s, he was a lay minister of a church who groomed a teenage girl for his own gratification.

“Then in 2010, in his capacity as Leader of Worcestershire County Council, he took advantage of a young woman in a junior position.

“The women he targeted, who have been left traumatised by their ordeal, have shown great fortitude to support a prosecution and achieve justice for themselves.

“We would like to reassure any other victims of similar offences that if they come forward, West Mercia Police will support them and pursue prosecutions wherever possible, regardless of when the offence took place.

“We encourage them to contact us and at the very least we can put them in touch with local support agencies.”

It was revealed in December 2010 that Dr Lord had been arrested over allegations of sexual offences after officers confirmed earlier in the year they were looking into a complaint made by a woman regarding an alleged historic sexual offence.

Lord was released on bail then pending further investigation.

A month later he resigned as council leader and as a councillor in November.

The former Conservative party member, who represented the Alvechurch ward in Worcestershire, was elected to the shadow Worcestershire County Council in May 1997.

He was made leader in 2001 and was re-elected every year, with the backing of full council, from that point onwards.

Dr Lord first qualified to become a general teacher in 1956.

In his early 30s he became a university lecturer but continued with his education, finishing at the age of 56 and acquiring degrees in philosophy, theology and in the social sciences.

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