Brian Macduff, who was previously known as Spence, of Sutton Road, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, was summonsed to appear at Crawley Magistrates’ Court to face four charges of indecent assault on a girl then aged between 10 and 11 in Warnham, West Sussex, between 1978 and 1980.
A Sussex Police spokesman said the 78-year-old pleaded not guilty and the case was committed for a trial preparation hearing at Lewes Crown Court on October 11.
He added: “The summons alleges that he indecently assaulted the girl at two locations in Warnham, one of which was Warnham parish church where he was the priest at the time.
“Sussex Police officers who investigated the allegations which were received for the first time in September 2016, have worked closely with the Diocese of Chichester’s safeguarding team, who have actively supported the investigation.
“Police emphasise that there are no current safeguarding issues for the church or the local Warnham community in relation to the investigation.”
A former Church of England priest has been charged with sex offences against a young girl almost 40 years ago.