A Tory politician has been suspended by his party after being charged with a series of sex attacks against young girls.
Stephen Mullins appeared before magistrates last week accused of two indecent assaults on females, the rape of another and assault on two further females. All were under the age 16.
He entered no plea and was remanded in custody to appear at a later date.
The married chef, of Links Avenue, Norwich, is a long-serving member of the Norwich North Conservative Association and has served on Hellesdon Parish Council for several years, representing the south east of the community.
It is alleged that the attacks took place over a period of five years but only recently came to light following a police investigation.
At least one of the alleged victims is now an adult. The women cannot be identified for legal reasons.
Last night Shelagh Gurney, chairman of the association, confirmed she had sought legal advice following the charges and the Conservative party area office had been informed. She said Mr Mullins' membership had been temporarily suspended awaiting the conclusion of the case.
She added: “The charges are of a very serious nature and we have got to treat them as such. However, for the time being he is innocent until proven guilty and we are awaiting the outcome of the case.”
A source added that colleagues were shocked by his arrest but were determined to keep an open mind about the charges. But they said the allegations come as an embarrassment in what should have been a positive week for Norwich Tories after they won two seats at the city council elections.
Despite serving on the council for about three years, Mr Mullins, who is in his 40s, is thought to have only sporadically attended meetings.
He has worked as head chef in the kitchen of the Bull pub in Reepham Road, Hellesdon, for 17 years.
No decision has been made on his continued employment at the pub.