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Lifetime ban on 2 Chichester clergy imposed: The Church of England Newspaper, February 21, 2014 March 20, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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Two Chichester clergymen jailed for child abuse have been given a life-time ban on exercising any functions on ordained ministry.

On 14 February 2014 the Rt. Rev. Martin Warner said that in light of the conclusion of the criminal cases against the Revs Gordon Rideout and Robert Coles and their subsequent incarceration, the ban had been imposed under Section 30 of the Clergy Discipline Measure.

“A sentence of prohibition for life is the most severe sanction that can be imposed under the Clergy Discipline Measure and is a further indication of the gravity of the offences committed,” the bishop said.

“Whilst neither of the clergy in question has been permitted to function as clergy in the Diocese of Chichester since their respective arrests, the imposition of these sentences now concludes the Church’s disciplinary processes. I hope this announcement is of some comfort to the survivors of abuse, both within the Diocese of Chichester and more widely.”

In February 2013 Coles (72) was jailed for eight years Brighton Crown Court after he pled guilty on 14 Dec 2012 to 11 counts of child abuse committed between 1978 to 1984 in West Sussex, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and the Isle of Wight.

On 20 May 2013 the jury found Rideout (74) guilty of 31 incidents of abuse at the Barnardo’s children’s home — Ifield Hall in Crawley, West Sussex — and one in Barkingside, Essex between 1962 and 1968, and four indecent assaults at the Middle Wallop army base in Hampshire between 1971 and 1973 where he served as a chaplain. He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment.

Last month Rideout was taken from prison to a local hospital. He has since been returned to jail, but has petitioned the Ministry of Justice for an early release on compassionate grounds.

A spokesman for the ministry declined to speak to Rideout’s petition, but stated compassionate release could be granted if the prisoner had a terminal illness or was bedridden or otherwise permanently incapacitated and would prove to be no harm to society.

 

Chichester priest committed for trial on abuse charges: The Church of England Newspaper, December 29, 2012 January 4, 2013

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A retired Sussex clergyman appeared before the Chichester Crown Court last week and has been committed for trial for allegedly sexually abusing a teenage boy.

The Rev. Robert Coles (71) pled not guilty to sexually abusing a boy between 1982 and 1984, when the child was 15 to 16 years of age.  Mr. Coles was arrested in March and charged in August with several counts of sexual abuse committed between the 1970s and 1990s.  The Crown Prosecution Service said it will decide next month whether to bring further charges of indecent assault against the defendants.  Trial has been set for 10 June 2013.

On 17 Dec 2012, the Diocese of Chichester released a statement confirming Mr. Coles, “a priest formerly licensed in the diocese, has been committed for trial to face charges relating to allegations of sexual abuse in the 70s and 80s.”

“Today’s hearing is the latest development in a 16 month police investigation in which the Diocese of Chichester has been cooperating with Sussex Police. A diocesan spokesperson said: “Our prayers are for anyone affected by today’s hearing. We are unable to comment further at this stage whilst we allow the judicial system to take its course.”

“Our cooperation with Sussex police in this investigation is in line with our ongoing commitment to do all that is necessary to bring any allegations of abuse to the attention of the public authorities, and to ensure that the Diocese of Chichester is a safe place for all,” the diocesan statement said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Chichester priest arrested for assault: The Church of England Newspaper, September 2, 2012, p 5. September 2, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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A retired Chichester clergyman has been arrested at his home in Eastbourne on suspicion of sexual assault.  On 16 August 2012 the Rev. Robert Coles (71) was charged with 29 counts of sexual abuse committed against three boys between 1978 and 1984 in West Sussex, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and the Isle of Wight.

On 6 March 2012, detectives from the Sussex police child protection team arrested Mr. Coles following a six-month investigation. He was released on conditional bail, but charged last week following further inquiries.

The investigation followed the release of a report prepared last year by Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss into the Diocese of Chichester’s child protection practices.  A criminal complaint was lodged against Mr. Coles and investigated by police in 1997, but there was insufficient evidence to support criminal proceedings.

A police spokesman said: “The charges, authorized by the South East Complex Case Unit of the Crown Prosecution Service, follow a nine month enquiry by Sussex Police detectives into these allegations.

“None of the charges relate to any allegations of recent or current offending and police emphasise that there is nothing to suggest that any children are currently at risk.”

The Diocese of Chichester released a statement in March saying it was aware of the arrest and was “co-operating fully with the police and other statutory agencies in all their activities, including this investigation.”

The Bishop of Horsham, the Rt. Rev. Mark Sowerby stated: “We are absolutely committed to making sure that our churches are safe communities for children and vulnerable adults and to giving the highest priority to statutory safeguarding practice and Church of England policies on safeguarding. We owe this to those who have suffered abuse and most especially to those who have suffered abuse at the hands of people exercising a ministry in the name of the Church.”

“We are resolved to do whatever is necessary to prevent the abuse of children and vulnerable adults and to ensure that no one fails victims of abuse by failing to report information or knowledge of wrongdoing to the police.”

Mr. Coles is set to appear at Chichester Magistrates’ Court on 5 September.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.