East Sussex sex abuse fear vicars allowed to work

21 October 2010
Two vicars were allowed to work at churches in East Sussex following serious sex abuse allegations, a BBC South East investigation has revealed. Roy Cotton, who died in 2006, worked as a parish priest in Brede near Rye in the 1990s despite being convicted of a sexual offence against a boy in 1954. Collin Pritchard served as the vicar of St Barnabas, Bexhill, until 2007 after being arrested over sex abuse claims. The Diocese of Chichester has appointed a judge to carry out an investigation. In 2008 Pritchard pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two boys in the 1970s and 1980s and was jailed for five years. The offences took place while he was parish priest at St Andrew’s Church in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. The court heard that Cotton had been involved in the offences but died in 2006, two weeks before Pritchard was arrested. Pritchard and Cotton first came to the attention of Sussex Police in 1997 after two abuse victims came forward. The victims said they were sexually abused by the pair during foreign holidays and camping trips.

“The Diocese of Chichester gives the protection of children the highest priority and takes seriously all concerns raised.   “As we have indicated to the BBC, a review is being undertaken into safeguarding practice in the diocese and in regard to questions raised by this BBC report.  “We do not wish to pre-empt the outcome of that review and are unable to comment until it is completed.” The discovery also comes after it was revealed that East Sussex vicar Ronald Glazebrook, who is believed to have abused a former altar boy, was allowed to serve at a church despite being convicted of possessing a gun. The Church of England said it would begin an investigation into the matter, following the revelations in September about Mr Glazebrook who died in 2001 after he was attacked at his home in East Sussex.

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