The Team Vicar of St Wilfrid’s Church in Harrogate, the Rev. Gordon Newtown (40) was sentenced last week by the Leeds Crown Court to nine years and seven months imprisonment for sexually molesting a three year old girl.
On 3 Sept 2021 Newtow pled guilty to six counts of sexually assaulting a girl under the age of 13 and six other indecency and child pornography charges. The court heard that police were alerted to Newton’s proclivities by his wife, who found 276 indecent images of children on his cellphone last year.
Judge Tom Bayliss told Newton that he had ruined the child’s life, as well as his own and his wife’s by his actions. “You held yourself out as a man of God but you’re nothing. You’re a hypocrite,” the judge said.
“For a man in your position, what you’ve done amounts not only to an extremely wicked series of acts, but to a gross abuse of a position of trust. You abused the trust of so many others in so many ways. You abused the trust of your parishioners and of the Church of England authorities.”
Newton, who appeared before the court via video-link, expressed remorse and apologized to the court for his actions.
A spokesman for the diocese of Leeds said after the verdict and sentence were pronounced: “It is a matter of deep shame and regret that Gordon Newton has been sentenced for offences of child sexual abuse.
“Child sexual abuse is a terrible crime and a grievous breach of trust, which has life-long effects.
“This is deeply shocking and of course, the victims of any such crimes must be foremost in our thoughts and prayers.
“The Anglican Diocese of Leeds safeguarding team has worked closely with all concerned since it was made aware of these allegations and has offered pastoral care and support.
“The Diocese of Leeds is committed to making the church a safer place for all and has clear safeguarding procedures in place, but we are aware we can never be complacent.”