08/03/2012 20:45 GMT | Updated 08/05/2012 10:12 BST

Pensioner George Lord, Former Council Leader, Admits Assaulting Teenage Girl

A former council leader and church minister who "used his positions of power and trust to sexually abuse vulnerable females" has admitted indecently assaulting a teenage girl, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

George Lord, 79, from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16, during a hearing at Birmingham Crown Court today.

The crimes were committed in 1977, when he was a church minister in Droitwich.

The pensioner, ex-leader of Worcestershire County Council, had denied the charges and was due to face trial later this month, but changed his plea during a pre-trial hearing this afternoon.

He was convicted of a separate sexual assault on a woman in January.

Jurors at that trial heard he assaulted a 19-year-old woman as he took her on a tour of the County Hall in 2010, while he still held the position of leader.

David Elliott, sector crown prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said: "George Lord used his positions of power and trust as a church minister and later as the leader of Worcestershire County Council to sexually abuse vulnerable females.

"The victims should have been able to expect the highest levels of propriety and integrity from him, however, they were instead exploited for his own personal sexual gratification.

"I would like to thank the victims who supported the prosecution case, in particular one of the victims who read in the media about Lord being arrested and charged with sexual assault, she then had the courage to come forward and report to the police about how he abused her 35 years ago for which he has today pleaded guilty to."

Lord was remanded in custody and will be sentenced next month.

Jurors at the earlier trial heard how Lord groped the 19-year-old in 2010 after serving as the council leader for around nine years.

The court heard Lord informed the woman he "owned" County Hall and told her she was beautiful before indecently assaulting her as she bent over to look at a plaque in the council chamber.

Prosecutor Jonas Hankin told the earlier trial that Lord resigned after the council launched an inquiry into the incident.

But the councillor denied any wrongdoing and accused the teenager of making up the allegations.

Giving evidence in his defence, Lord claimed the "delusional" 19-year-old had invented the dialogue which she said had passed between them.

Describing himself as a man of honour who could be trusted completely, Lord told the jury: "Nothing I said or did was inappropriate at all."