A council says it is “powerless” to remove a councillor after he admitted to multiple child sex offences.
Alex Kear, 50, pleaded guilty to sexual offences involving a child under the age of 13 at Leeds Crown Court on Thursday.
He represents the Airedale and Ferry Fryston ward as an independent on Wakefield Council in West Yorkshire after winning the seat from Labour at the local elections in May last year.
But Wakefield Council says it is powerless to remove him from office and may only do so if he is jailed for more than three months.
As a result, he remains a serving councillor despite his convictions.
Gillian Marshall, Wakefield Council’s chief legal officer, said after the court hearing: “Central government has essentially left local councils powerless to take action in these situations.
“We do not have any authority to remove elected members from their position, regardless of the severity of their alleged crimes unless they receive a significant custodial sentence.
“Therefore unless Kear chooses to resign, he remains a councillor. This will be reviewed when he is sentenced.
“As soon as we were made aware of the investigation by West Yorkshire Police we took all the appropriate safeguarding measures within our control and we will continue to do so.”
Kear was granted bail after Friday’s hearing and is due to return to court to be sentenced on 20 August.
Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told Kear: “The fact that I am adjourning your case for reports is no indication of the sentence that you will ultimately receive. All options remain open.”
Kear, of Castleford, West Yorkshire, admitted to offences of trying to entice a child under the age of 13 into engaging in sexual activity and attempting to incite a child into pornography.