The former mayor of Scarborough Peter Jaconelli, who would be facing allegations of child sex abuse if he was still alive, was charged with indecent assault in the 1970s, prosecutors have revealed.
The Crown Prosecution Service says the ice cream magnate was charged with the offence and a case file relating to him was passed to its predecessor body, the Director of Public Prosecution’s (DPP) office, in 1972.
But the CPS, which formed in 1986, says its records do not show whether a prosecution was authorised or if the charge was dropped.
It is not known which police force carried out the investigation that led to the charge.
An investigation by North Yorkshire Police into Jaconelli, who died aged 73 in 1999, revealed last year that he would have faced a string of charges relating to abuse in Scarborough between 1958 and 1998 if he was still alive.
Jaconelli and his friend, disgraced Leeds-born DJ Jimmy Savile, were suspected of being involved in the abuse of 35 young victims as part of a paedophile ring operating in the resort, but cheated justice.
Dozens of victims came forward to report historic sexual abuse by Jaconelli and Savile after the broadcast of the TV documentary Inside Out and a story by one of the former mayor’s victims in The Scarborough News.
After launching an investigation into the abuse, dubbed Operation Hibiscus, North Yorkshire Police apologised to victims, but made no mention of Jaconelli being charged with any offence.
Assistant chief constable Paul Kennedy said at the time: “The available information indicates that, historically, the police missed opportunities to look into allegations against these men whilst they were still alive.”
Jaconelli was the mayor of Scarborough from 1971 to 1972 and granted the title of Honorary Alderman of the Borough of Scarborough in 1996.
The revelation that he was charged with indecent assault was a response under the Freedom of Information Act.
A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “This matter predates the formation of the CPS in 1986. CPS does however hold limited information regarding a record of cases received by the former DPP’s Office. This was transferred to the CPS upon formation in 1986. Our records show that a case file relating to Peter Jaconelli, charged with indecent assault, was sent to the DPP’s Office in 1972.
“The records do not show whether a prosecution was authorised or whether the charge was subsequently dropped.”
She added: “The CPS is unable to confirm from the record held, which police force had been responsible for the investigation.”
A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “North Yorkshire Police is liaising with the Crown Prosecution Service to assess this information. Until we have had the necessary time to complete enquiries, it would not be appropriate to comment further.”