A 74-YEAR-OLD man has been found guilty of 18 counts of indecent assault against three victims.

Ric Pallister, former Royal Navy officer and former leader of South Somerset District Council, has been convicted following a trial at Taunton Crown Court.

READ MORE: Ric Pallister denies 33 sex charges

READ MORE: Ric Pallister denies 36 sex charges at his trial

He was found guilty of 18 counts of indecent assault, with the offences committed between the 1980s and 2000s.

Two of the victims were children at the time some of the offences were committed.

A spokesperson for the NSPCC in the South West said: “Pallister preyed on his victims and betrayed the positions of authority which he held in the community in the worst possible way.

“He is now finally facing the consequences of actions and this case highlights that survivors of sexual abuse can receive justice, no matter how long ago the offences took place.”

Pallister, of East Chinnock, was as remanded ahead of being sentenced at Taunton Crown Court tomorrow (Friday, September 24).

Investigating officer DS Frank Glover said Pallister appeared to be a 'dedicated and respected member of his community', but the reality 'could not have been more stark'.

"He was in fact an opportunistic and prolific abuser who carried out a series of appalling sexual offences against three female victims over a significant period of time," he said.

“He was able to commit these acts in plain sight and wielded the ability to groom, manipulate, control and coerce his victims.

"The impact of his offending has been damaging and long-lasting, leaving the victims with mental scars and issues with self-worth and self-belief.

“They’ve shown incredible fortitude in coming forward to disclose the abuse they suffered and they gave compelling evidence in court. I hope this outcome will help them with their continuing journeys to find a form of closure.

“I also hope these verdicts will help other victims of sexual abuse to come forward and report offences to us; we can investigate offences even if they’ve been committed in the past.

"Please don’t suffer in silence and speak to the police, or another agency specialised in dealing with victims of sexual crimes.”

The NSPCC’s helpline for adults who require support is available 24 /7 and for free on 0808 800 5000. Help for children and young people is available through ChildLine on 0800 1111.