Friday, November 12, 2010

Further investigations
Worcester Park Baptist minister facing UK child sex abuse investigation
9:11am Thursday 11th November 2010

Print Email Share Comments(0) By Claire Fox »

A Baptist minister who admitted abusing children in the US faces a British police investigation after confessing to similar offences.

Reverend Robert Dando, 46, a senior minister at Worcester Park Baptist Church, pleaded guilty in Fairfax, Virginia, to four counts of sexually molesting the two young sons of family friends.

Dando sexually abused the boys between 1995 and 1999, from the ages of seven and eight.

Officials told Fairfax County Circuit Court one of the victims said Dando molested him by touching his genitals on 50 to 60 different occasions.

Fairfax County prosecutors have also revealed Dando admitted under questioning to touching young boys in the United Kingdom in a similar way.

Dando, a former magistrate in Oxfordshire, was understood to have been a member of the Oxfordshire Family Panel, which deals with child care and access proceedings.

A spokesman for Thames Valley Police, which covers Oxford, said: “We are currently following a number of leads and enquiries relating to child protection issues involving Robert Dando that have occurred in the UK.”

Dando, from Sherbrooke Way, faces a minimum sentence of four years and a maximum sentence of 80 years in prison in the US. He was also told he could be deported.

Dando resigned from Worcester Park Baptist Church after he was arrested in the US in July.

He was also removed from membership of the Boys’ Brigade, in which his wife, Janice, was a vice-president.

She has now resigned from her position and a spokesman for the Boys’ Brigade said Janice was going through a “tough time”.

A Baptist Union spokeswoman said: “The church would like to say there was a great sense of sadness when we received the news that Robert Dando pleaded guilty to the four counts.

“Our thoughts and prayers are very much with everyone involved in this situation.

“If any allegations are made over here in the UK within one of our churches, it would always immediately be reported to the police and social services.”

Anyone with information should call Detective Constable Mark Jenkins or Detective Sergeant Jon Capps on 01295 754630 at Thames Valley Police.

A former parishioner of Robert Dando has told of her shock on hearing the Baptist minister had pleaded guilty to child-sex abuse charges in the US.

The woman, who does not want to be named, said she had been convinced of Dando’s innocence, although she describes him as a very troubled man.

Having suffered sexual abuse herself as a child, she said she used to confide in Dando about the effect it had on her.

She said: “I told him things that I would not want anyone else to know.

“I know what it feels like to be frightened and not have anyone to turn to.

“Maybe that’s what he was banking on. Maybe so many people like me have told him they had not told anyone that he thought these children would grow up like that.

“It is very sad. I don’t understand how that could be the Robert I knew.

“He didn’t have any children of his own, but he told me he was looking forward to the patter of little feet.

“You can’t blame it on God. He gives us all a free choice.

“He knew it was wrong but he did it anyway.”

1 comment:

Snash11 said...

Robert Dando was sentenced to eight years in prison in a Fairfax County, VA courtroom on Friday, July 22, 2011 a year after being taken into custody and admitting guilt to all charges.