A Cranmore pensioner has appeared in court facing historic charges of child rape and sex abuse dating back more than 20 years.
Norman James Smith, aged 66, of Martins Paddock, West Cranmore, appeared in the dock before South Somerset and Mendip Magistrates.
He was charged with two counts of raping a girl under the age of 16 at Cranmore, and nine allegations of indecent assault on a girl aged under 14 and another similar offence against a woman aged over 16.
He was also alleged to have committed a further five offences of inciting a girl aged under 14 to commit an act of gross indecency with himself.
Smith did not enter pleas to any of the charges which are alleged to have taken place on various dates between July 5, 1991 and July 5, 1999.
The alleged offences were so serious that the magistrates sent the defendant straight to Taunton Crown Court to be dealt with.
They adjourned the case until November 23 when he will appear before a preliminary hearing at Taunton.
In the meantime he was released on bail with the conditions not to contact the alleged victim in any way and not to have any unsupervised contact with any child who is under the age of 16.