Ten year sentence for abuser priest

A former priest of the Diocese of Chichester has been sentenced to ten years imprisonment by the Hove Crown Court for child abuse. On 2 Oct 2015 the court further further ordered the Rev. Christopher Howarth (67) serve 5 years under licence supervision after his release and be given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order prohibiting him from contacting or working with children. On 17 July 2015 Howarth was convicted of molesting two boys between 2004 and 2013, paying them for sexual favors. 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 2 Oct 2015 a spokesman said: “The Diocese of Chichester welcomes this sentence. While no term of imprisonment can ever fully remove the harm caused by abuse, we hope that the victims in this case feel that the Court has recognized the seriousness of Chris Howarth’s offences. Diocesan staff have been supporting the victims over the past year and throughout the trial and we want to place on record our admiration and gratitude for their tremendous courage and determination. Chris Howarth was a well-known and much-loved figure throughout Uckfield and many people will find it extremely difficult to comprehend that he could have abused children. Both victims knew this and nevertheless came forward to give their account. The verdict of the jury and today’s sentence is a vindication of their courage, and a reminder that victims’ reports must always be taken seriously, regardless of the status or respectability of the accused”.

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