A PENSIONER who sexually assaulted a young girl was allowed to serve as a trustee for three charities including a children's foundation, the Worcester News can reveal.

Edward Roberts, who is understood to live in Grafton Flyford near Worcester, has also been using the titles of CBE and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), despite being stripped of those honours.

In 2012, aged 72, Roberts was jailed for two years after he was found guilty of two counts of indecency with a child and two counts of indecent assault in 2012, following a seven-day trial.

A jury heard the abuse started when the victim was just 12 years old, with the offences happening more than 30 years ago.

Sentencing him at the time, Judge Joanna Cutts QC told him: "The abuse was regular and whenever you saw her you took your opportunity. She made clear in her evidence she adored you and the attention you gave her and didn’t believe she was being abused - but abuse it was. You took advantage of that young girl’s vulnerability. She’s been affected throughout her life by what you did.”

The Worcester News understands that Roberts, a former CBI West Midlands regional chairman, served on the board of the charities for two decades including during his time in prison and since his release.

Last Friday, the Charity Commission website listed Roberts as a trustee for Grafton Flyford Relief in Need, the Sir John Grafton charity and the Grafton and Stonehall Education Foundation, which is described as providing "educational support for local children and schools they attend".

However, he was removed from the list of trustees for each charity over the weekend, following a complaint made two weeks ago, the Worcester News understands.

A trustee's duties can include attending meetings with other board members and making decisions on how to allocate funds.

The Charity Commission's rules state: "There are rules that might stop someone from being a charity trustee or holding some positions at a charity - disclosure and barring service (DBS) rules which include who is eligible to work or volunteer with children."

A spokesman for the three charities, which are all based at the same address in Grafton Flyford, said: "The trustees were unaware of the change of the Charity Commission's rules regarding trustee members. As it has now been recognised, Mr Roberts has been removed from the boards of trustees.

"He never notified us (that he was stripped of the CBE or the FRSA) – he was probably unaware of the significance of this."

Although the spokesman claimed the trustee rules only changed recently, the Charity Commission updated them in May 2018 according to its website.

Worcester News attempted to contact Roberts for a comment but could not reach him.

READ MORE: Businessman who abused young girl is jailed

A RSA spokesman said: "Edward Roberts is not a Fellow of the RSA and as such is not entitled to use the distinction FRSA.

"We are always grateful for media and members of the public bringing suspected misuse of the title to our attention. Fellowship of the RSA is granted on the basis of shared values, and we reserve the right to remove this following any allegations of wrongdoing which conflicts with these values. Where appropriate, we will take further action including but not limited to issuing cease-and-desist warnings where the title is used erroneously."

A Cabinet Office spokesman said it had been made aware Mr Roberts was wrongly using the CBE title, as he had been stripped of the honour following his conviction.

Roberts, who was awarded the CBE in 1991 for services to industry, is the founding chairman of the National Training and Enterprise Council, was previously chairman and chief executive for county firm Peterson Spring UK, worked for city recruitment agency Pertemps, and was also treasurer of St John the Baptist Church in Grafton Flyford.

The Charity Commission did not respond to our request for a comment before our deadline.