Guilty verdict for Uckfield priest on child sex charges

The Hove Crown Court has found a Diocese of Chichester priest guilty of molesting two boys between 2004 and 2013, paying them for sexual favours. The Rev. Christopher Howarth (67) was found not guilty on five other counts of abuse. Ordained in 1983, Howarth served as a non-stipendiary priest in the Uckfield benefice of Holy Cross, Uckfield St Margaret’s, Isfield and St Michael’s, Little Horsted while working as Deputy Principal of Uckfield Community Technical College. In 2012 he was suspended from the ministry after the diocese was made aware of the allegations. In a statement released on 17 July 2015 a spokesman for the diocese said: “Two young lives have been irrevocably damaged as a result of Howarth’s actions. He obviously betrayed the trust placed in him at many different levels across the community. The Diocese of Chichester offers Howarth’s two victims our deepest apology and we commend them for their bravery in coming forward and being willing to give evidence.” It acknowledged the “news of Howarth’s conviction and sentence will come as a great shock to many in Uckfield and we are working in conjunction with others to offer pastoral care and support to those more widely affected, still struggling to believe that this could happen within their midst.” Howarth was remanded into custody pending his 7 August 2015 sentencing hearing.


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