Vicar quits after child sex claims (22.3.86)

The Times (London), 22nd March 1986
by Peter Davenport

The vicar at the centre of allegations of sexual abuse of young children has resigned his parish, it was disclosed last night.

He wrote to the Archbishop of York, Dr John Habgood, to offer his resignation and has since left his church on Humberside.

The decision of the vicar, a widower with three children, came after increasing pressure and the threat of a private prosecution.

Last night Mr Raymond Barker, the lay chaplain to the Archbishop, said that the letter of resignation had been delivered to the Archbishop’s Palace in York on Thursday.

The vicar had refused a request by the Archbishop that he should resign six months ago.

Earlier this week, Mr Geoffrey Dickens, Conservative MP for Littleborough and Saddleworth, was prevented by the Speaker from naming the vicar in the Commons.

A police file on the allegations against the vicar, which initially concerned complaints by the mother of a boy aged 11, and then widened to include claims by the parents of other children, is now with the Director of Public Prosecution.

The vicar still faces the possibility of a private prosecution over the allegation initiated by a Merseyside headmaster, Mr Charles Oxley, chairman of the Law and Order campaign.

The vicar’s solicitor said his client denied all the allegations.

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