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 whether the charge was dropped. It is not known which police force carried out the criminal 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.
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, known as King of the Cornets, 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 in 1972 was made in a response by the CPS to local journalist Nigel Ward of the North Yorkshire Enquirer after a request made under the Freedom of Information Act.
A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement: “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.”
The Crown Prosecution Service was formed in 1986 under the direction of the Director of Public Prosecutions, consisting of a merger of his old department with the existing police prosecution departments.
Prior to this, police forces were responsible for the bulk of prosecutions, with only the most difficult cases passed to the DPP.
North Yorkshire Police was formed in 1974, before which the area was policed by the York and North East Yorkshire Police, which covered the North Riding of Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire and the county borough of York.
In July, a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found that a North Yorkshire Police detective failed to submit an intelligence report about Savile and Jaconelli after allegations were made against them.
But the watchdog said there was no misconduct case to answer because the claims were examined “diligently”.
The IPCC looked at how the force handled information received in 2002 from a 37-year-old woman claiming she had been sexually abused by Savile when she was aged 15.
It also looked at the force’s treatment of two disclosures from a serving prisoner in relation to allegations in 2008 and 2009 of child abuse by Jaconelli.
The IPCC investigation concluded the detective sergeant, a constable based at Scarborough/Filey CID at the time, investigated “diligently and professionally” in relation to both cases.
The IPCC is conducting a separate investigation into how NYP handled a report received in October 2000 from a man alleging, as a young boy in the early 1970s, that he was sexually assaulted by Jaconelli at locations in the Scarborough area.