A 20-year-old nursery assistant from Birmingham is to appear in court charged with the oral rape of a child attending the nursery where he works.
The man – named as Paul Wilson – was arrested at his home in the Birmingham district of Nechells, in the early hours of Wednesday morning by detectives from West Midlands Police Public Protection Department.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced that he was to face two charges of oral rape on a child aged 2-3 years between the beginning of January 2009 and the end of July last year.
Jayne Salt, head of the CPS’s West Midlands complex casework unit, said: “Having carefully examined all of the available information which was submitted to us by the police, we have decided that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Paul Wilson with two counts of rape in relation to an investigation into the Little Stars nursery in Nechells, Birmingham.
“Paul Wilson will be appearing before Birmingham Magistrates’ Court tomorrow, where an application to remand him in custody will be made by the prosecution.”
The nursery was closed throughout Thursday as a precaution, while police and council staff contacted parents.
Assistant Chief Constable Anil Patani said that the family of the alleged victim, who attends the nursery, had been contacted.
“The family of this child have been told and police are supporting them at this very difficult time,” he said.
It later emerged that the man was initially arrested on suspicion of allegedly grooming a teenage over the internet – a separate allegation which is unrelated to the nursery.
Speaking at the force’s headquarters in central Birmingham, Superintendent Matthew Ward said material recovered from the man’s address, including a computer, telephones and various other electrical items, led officers to launch a separate investigation into suspected sexual abuse involving a child at the nursery.
He added that police has been in contact with parents who were “clearly very angry and very shocked”.
“At this early stage we have evidence to suggest one offender and one victim and we are working very closely with that victim’s family.
“We are dealing with families currently at the nursery but also families of children who have been at the nursery at any time over the past 18 months. We could be talking about a large number of families – possibly into the 100s.”
The nursery, which opened in 2006, provides child care places for over 50 babies, toddlers and pre-school children.
In August 2010 Ofsted made an unannounced visit to the nursery following a complaint. The summary of the complaint found that Little Stars “does not have an effective safeguarding children’s procedure”.
Ofsted visited the nursery again for an inspection in November and found that 55 children were attending, although it could hold a maximum of 72.
The overall quality of care was judged to be good and the environment was described as “safe and secure” while staff and parents enjoyed a “good working partnership”.
But the report said risk assessments had not been completed to ensure the safety of children at the nursery.
We were shocked to hear of the allegations. Nechells Regeneration Project
A Birmingham City Council spokeswoman said: “We are working closely with West Midlands Police and will continue to keep parents informed as to the situation.”
A telephone line with specialist staff to offer advice and support has also been set up. The number is 0121 675 4806.
In a statement released by police, John James, chief executive of the Nechells Regeneration Project, said: “We were shocked to hear of the allegations made and we are, of course, co-operating fully with the police inquiry.
“We have been successfully operating this nursery for five years and are an established part of the community and are grateful for the support we are receiving from that community during this time.
“The safety and welfare of the children and the community we serve is our first priority, and in the circumstances we fully support the decision by the police and Ofsted to temporarily close the nursery during the initial stages of this investigation.
“Our thoughts are with the children, parents and the hard-working staff of Little Stars Nursery.”