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London East and South East

Ex-Priest jailed for sex offences against boys dating back to 80s

todaySeptember 18, 2017 12

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A former Church of England priest has been jailed for 12 years for a string of sexual offences against two boys dating back to the late 1980s.

Jonathan Graves, of Jervis Avenue, Eastbourne, East Sussex, is the third former priest from the Diocese of Chichester to be convicted following an investigation into concerns about several priests.

The 60-year-old was convicted of 12 sexual offences, against two boys known to him, while he was priest at St Lukes Church at Stonecross near Eastbourne.

He was sentenced at Brighton Crown Court to eight years for two offences of indecent assault on a boy aged 11 to 13 between 1987 and 1990, two offences of indecency with that boy during the same period, and two offences of cruelty against that boy during the same period.

Graves also was also sentenced to four years for three offences of indecent assault, and three of cruelty against another boy then aged between 12 and 15 between 1988 and 1992.

He was also ordered to be a registered sex offender for life and was given a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) to last until further court notice, severely restricting his access to young children.

Detective Inspector Jon Gross of Sussex Police said: “The past has caught up with Jonathan Graves.

“The evidence in this case has revealed how he used his position as a reverend to select his victims and befriend them before callously abusing them for his own sexual gratification.

“His crimes have had a lasting impact upon those he abused. The hurt caused by the sexual abuse itself has undoubtedly been compounded by the psychological scars of the abuser being a trusted and influential figure in each of the victims’ lives.

“I have enormous admiration for the courage the victims have shown in coming forward to the police, and for remaining steadfast in seeing this matter through to conclusion.

“I hope these verdicts bring some form of closure to them.”

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss looked into the case of Jonathan Graves in 2010 as part of a review for the Diocese of Chichester looking at previous concerns about several priests. The report was sent to Sussex Police in 2011.

“Following a review of all information held by the Diocese on the cases covered, the force began an investigation, Operation Perry, and Graves is the third and last of the priests to be convicted.

“The two other clergy, Robert Coles and Gordon Rideout, have already been convicted in separate trials and sentenced to terms of imprisonment.”

Written by: Miriam Emenike

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