The former Mayor of Godalming and a Conservative Waverley Borough Councillor for the town has been charged with a number of criminal offences of, ‘a sexual nature,’ and appeared before Guildford Magistrates today.
Mr Thornton of Abraham Way, who is a Godalming butcher, faces 23 charges, including one count each of rape of a girl under the age of 13 years, voyeurism, assault of a girl under the age of 13 and paying a girl for sexual services.
He also faces two counts of making indecent photographs of a child, 11 counts of engaging in penetrative sexual activity with a girl aged between 13 and 15 and six counts of taking an indecent image of a child.
The case has been referred to the Crown Court for a hearing fixed for May 8.
Godalming Mayor Simon Thornton stepped down from the mayoral role, as well as relinquishing his roles as the Conservative Town and Waverley Borough councillor for Ockford & Eashing Ward in October 2017.
Mr Thornton, who became the town’s mayor in May 2017, cited personal reasons for his decision to resign. Both seats have now gone to Liberal Democrat Paul Follows following a by-election.
Mr Thornton was first elected to the town council in 2011 when he was also elected as a Waverley borough councillor.
As a Waverley councillor, he was a member of the powerful executive from 2014-2016 with portfolio responsibility for leisure, culture, parks and the countryside.
At an extraordinary meeting of Godalming Town Council shortly after Mr Thornton’s resignation members elected Holloway ward councillor Anne Bott as mayor for the rest of the year. Mrs Bott previously served as mayor in 2015. Her husband and fellow Holloway councillor, Steve Bott, will be her consort. Current deputy mayor Nick Williams will continue in his role.