Life­time bans for clergy

The Church of England - - NEWS -

TWO Chich­ester cler­gy­men jailed for child abuse have been given a life­time ban on ex­er­cis­ing any func­tions of or­dained min­istry.

On 14 Fe­bru­ary 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 at Brighton Crown Court af­ter he pleaded guilty on 14 De­cem­ber 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 10 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.

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