Guilty plea from London vicar on abuse charges

A retired London vicar has pled guilty to four counts of historic child abuse. 

A retired London vicar has pled guilty to four counts of historic child abuse. Last week the Rev. Leonard Skinner (79) entered a guilty plea at the Highbury Magistrates Court admitting two counts of indecent assault on a boy aged under 14 and two counts of assault on a boy aged under 16. While serving as vicar of St Peter’s Grange Park, Enfield between 1970 and 1980, Skinner befriended a boy whom he abused between 1972 and 1975. The abuse was reported to the Metropolitan Police in 2015 and Skinner was interviewed under caution on 24 November 2015 and subsequently charged on 28 January 2016. In a statement released by the Metropolitan Police, Detective Constable John Ritsema of Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: “Skinner used his role in a position of trust, as well as his friendly demeanour, to gain access to his victim. I would like to pay tribute to the courage of the victim in speaking out against Skinner. It was his testimonial that secured the charges and enabled this case to be brought to court.” Skinner is due to be sentenced at the Blackfriars Crown Court on 11 March 2016. Skinner, who retired in 2001 and moved to the Northeast had most recently served in a non-stipendiary capacity in the Diocese of Newcastle. The Archdeacon of Northumberland, the Venerable Geoff Miller said: “We offer an unreserved apology to the survivors of the appalling abuse by the Reverend Leonard Skinner and acknowledge their courage in coming forward. The Diocese of Newcastle treats all allegations of sexual abuse with the utmost seriousness and expects the highest standards from its clergy, including in retirement. As soon as the diocese was told that Leonard Skinner was under investigation by the Metropolitan Police, he was immediately prevented from carrying out any further duties in church.”

 
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