Homosexual Labour party chairman of Stanley Town Council and former coach driver who lived in Carlisle has admitted raping a schoolboy.
Peter McLaughlin, 61, entered his guilty pleas on the day that he was due to start a trial at Carlisle Crown Court over 15 similar allegations of abusing the boy.
Until today, he had denied any wrongdoing, but he finally admitted twice sexualy molesting the boy when his victim was much younger.
An earlier hearing had heard how McLaughlin committed the offences in the 1990s when he lived in the Greystone Road area of Carlisle.
The court heard that the defendant deliberately befriended his victim at a time when he worked as a driver for Redcrest Holidays, travelling all over Britain and Europe.
In court today, prosecutor Kim Whittlestone outlined how the allegations have already been scrutinised during two trials.
After the first, the jury were unable to reach a verdict while in the most recent trial the illness of a juror led to the case being abandoned.
The decision to accept the two guilty please offered was reached after detailed consultation with the victim, who otherwise would have faced the prospect of testifying for a third time.
As a result of the guilty pleas, Judge Peter Hughes QC ordered that McLaughlin, now living Murray Park, Stanley, County Durham, should sign the Sex Offenders’ Register. The period of time he will be on the register will be determined by the sentence that is ultimately imposed.
The judge also made the defendant subject to an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order, which severely restricts his future contact with any child.
Referring to the victim’s decision to accept the guilty pleas, Miss Whittlestone added: “He wants to ensure that this doesn’t happen again – hence the Sexual Offences Prevention Order.”
Judge Hughes granted McLaughlin bail until the sentencing hearing on January 2 so that background reports can be prepared. He added that he will be considering all sentencing options.
In court today, Mr McLaughlin showed little emotion, speaking only to confirm his name and to enter his pleas.