A WELL-known county councillor has been charged with rape and will stand trial next year. 

Mike Rouse strenuously denies the charges and has pleaded not guilty to one count of raping a woman aged 16 or over and also denied sexually assaulting a woman aged 16 or over, between February 21 and February 23 last year in Coventry.

The charges relate to the same complainant.

Rouse, of Patch Lane, Redditch, said he "vehemently refutes any suggestion of illegality."

The 40-year-old, who represents the Redditch South division on Worcestershire County Council, appeared at Warwick Crown Court on Friday, June 28 for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

A trial date has been set for March 10, 2025.

The former cabinet member with responsibility for highways and transport said he asked the Conservative group leader to suspend him from the group on Worcestershire County Council and is now an independent councillor. 

He said: "I have been charged by the CPS in connection with an allegation relating to a single event in my private life involving an adult female and which does not pertain to my official public responsibilities in any way.

"I have and continue to fully cooperate with the legal process.

"I attended one voluntary interview and was never placed under arrest. 

"For clarity, I vehemently refute any suggestion of illegality and am committed to vigorously defending my innocence against the charges in court in due course.

"The constraints of our legal system prevent me from providing further details on the case at this juncture. However, I want to reiterate my steadfast denial of any wrongdoing".

He previously served as deputy leader of Redditch Borough Council and is a member of the standards and ethics committee on Worcestershire County Council.