A public advocate of clerical celibacy, Grigg abused four teenaged boys whilst serving as rector of Cottingham
A Church of England priest imprisoned for sexual assault has died in prison. The Rev. Canon Terrence Grigg last month was convicted after an 18 day trial at Hull Crown Court of 12 counts of indecent assault and two charges of sexual abuse against four boys in the 1980’s and 1990’s whilst serving as rector of St Mary’s Church in Cottingham. Judge Jonathan Rose sentenced Grigg (84) to 12 years imprisonment. The Prison Service reported Grigg died in hospital on 26 August 2018.
In a statement, the Diocese of York said it would continue to support Grigg’s victims.
“As we learned of the death of Terrence Grigg we remain concerned for all those he abused and deceived, for whom this news may stir up strong feelings.
“The Church constantly reviews the safeguarding procedures and policies now in place to make it a safer place for everyone.
“We continue to hold those hurt by Terrence Grigg in our prayers and offer them whatever support we can into the future.”
However, at Grigg’s trial, testimony was presented indicating the Church sought to cover up the abuse. One of the victims stated he had handed a letter to the then Bishop of Hull, the Rt. Rev. James Jones, in the 1990s recounting his ordeal. He told the court the diocese responded by threatening him with legal action for slandering Grigg and demanded that he write a letter of apology to the priest.
At trial Grigg admitted he had been arrested in 1951 and found guilty of “conspiracy to corrupt public morals or outrage public decency” by the Lambeth Magistrates Court after he had been arrested in a public toilet for soliciting sex with a man.
A member of Forward in Faith, Grigg in 1997 was the author of an article in New Directions lamenting the distrust and disparagement of celibate priests in the Church of England. He denounced assumptions that celibate clergy were secret homosexuals or emotionally stunted individuals.
“[T]he idea of celibacy is not understood and when it is understood, it presents a challenge to the comfortable, establishment minded bishops and partly because of fear. Some of this fear must be that single men are more likely to transgress in matters of morals, in which case the whole of the Roman Catholic priesthood, let alone every modern Pope must give such people cause for great concern and their concern must go back right through church history to Our Lord Himself. It will include many saints and most of the heroes of the Catholic movement of the C of E,” he wrote.
“The Church still needs single priests” he wrote, adding: “The secular celibate priest travels a hard, lonely road. He is often misunderstood, he has no Superior to direct him, no wife or close family to correct him – he is alone and free – but these gifts are there for a purpose and that is to help better to do God’s will.”