CHILD abuse charges have been brought against Stephen James Read, former managing director of a Stroud company.

The 58-year-old, who lives in Bussage, has been charged with 19 counts of child abuse, including 10 charges of assaulting a child under the age of 13 and two charges of indecent assault on a child under the age of 16.

He is due to appear at Cheltenham Magistrates Court on Monday, December 17.

Mr Read, who was founder of a company with  regional offices and service centres throughout the UK and overseas, will also face two charges of meeting a child under 16 following sexual grooming, two charges of causing a child under 13 to view an image of sexual activity and two charges of inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

He is also charged with causing a child aged between 13 and 15 to view an image of sexual activity.

There are several alleged victims and some of the charges pre-date May 2004.