Thursday, March 3, 2011

Church sorry for vicar’s sex abuseSponsored by
Colin Pritchard

Published on Wed Mar 02 09:06:26 GMT 2011

Victims of a paedophile priest who abused young boys in Wellingborough have received an apology from the Chuch.

The Rev Colin Pritchard was jailed for five years in 2008 for four indecent assaults on two underage boys and three acts of gross indecency back in the 1980s.

An internal investigation by the Church into how Pritchard was able to collude with another priest, Roy Cotton, who worked in Sussex and was also said to be involved in the abuse of minors but was not charged before he died in 2006, has now concluded.

The Bishop of Chichester the Rt Rev John Hind has written to the victims to apologise and offer compensation.

A further independent inquiry into the Church’s investigations and what safeguards are in place to prevent such things happening again is now being conducted by Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, who also ran the public inquiry into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

She is expected to report back later this spring.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Chichester confirmed that an apology and compensation offer had been made to victims.

The spokesman said: “The Diocese of Chichester is fully committed to achieving the highest standards of safeguarding practice.

“A review of past safeguarding practice and experience is currently being undertaken by Baroness Butler-Sloss and this is due to be published in the spring.

“The Diocese has nothing further to add to what has already been said until the publication of the report.”

The Rev Colin Pritchard was the vicar of St Barnabus in Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex until 2007 despite having been reported to police for sex offences against boys in Wellingborough 10 years earlier.

He was in charge of St Andrew’s Church in Wellingborough until 1989 and it was during this period that the abuse of boys, then aged 11 and 15, happened.

The Diocese of Peterborough said it was not in a position to comment until it had seen the letter from Bishop Hind but said it was aware of discussions over compensation.

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