Lifetime bans for clergy
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.