Nursery assistant, 20, facing two charges of raping a child

A 20-YEAR-OLD nursery assistant is set to appear in court today to face two charges of raping of a child.

Paul Wilson was arrested at his home in Nechells, Birmingham, early on Wednesday morning by detectives from West Midlands Police's public protection department.

Jayne Salt, head of the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's complex casework unit, said last night: "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.

"He faces two charges of oral rape of a child under 13 years old on dates between January 1 2009 and July 30 2010.

"Paul Wilson will be appearing before Birmingham Magistrates' Court, where an application to remand him in custody will be made by the prosecution."

A police spokeswoman said an investigation into suspected child abuse at the nursery was launched after a computer was seized from Wilson's home.

He has worked at the nursery for 18 months, according to officers.

Little Stars is a day nursery for children under the age of eight, based in the Nechells Regeneration Project, which offers a host of community facilities.

A force spokeswoman said the nursery was closed yesterday, adding: "West Midlands Police and Birmingham City Council are in the process of contacting parents and guardians of children registered at the nursery."

Senior police officers and council officials were also set to hold a private meeting for concerned parents yesterday and are in the process of tracing families of children who previously attended.

A telephone line offering advice and support to parents and guardians has also been set up.

Superintendent Matt Ward, of West Midlands Police, said the investigation was focused on the abuse of one child and there was currently no evidence of any others being involved.

In a statement released through the police , John James, chief executive of the Nechells Regeneration Project, sought to reassure parents who have used the facility.

"We were shocked to hear of the allegations made and we are, of course, co-operating fully with the police inquiry," he said.

"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."

According to an Ofsted inspection report published last month, the nursery employs 14 members of staff and is attended by more than 50 children.

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."

The helpline set up for parent or guardians of children at the nursery who are concerned about the investigation, is available on 0121 675 4806.