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Sex abuse priest gets eight years

A Devon priest has been sentenced to eight years in prison for serious sexual assaults against a choirboy.

Peter Cranch, 57, was found guilty of six charges of assault on boy under 16 while he was a priest at All Saints Church, Exmouth.   Bristol Crown Court heard he sexually assulted the boy, who is now in his 20s, over a five-year period.   Cranch had a history of sex attacks on boys dating back to the 1970s.

He was demoted and censured by a secret church court in 1980 after his first conviction and was ordered to have no further contact with children.   He was only defrocked after the victims of assaults came forward in the late 1990s and he was once again convicted, with a two-year suspended sentence in 1999. The attacks which led to him being jailed for eight years at Plymouth Crown Court were reported to police after this case.

Bishop of Exeter, the Right Reverend Michael Langrish said after the case: "The Church deeply regrets the omissions and actions that led to harm and we both recognise and deplore the suffering of any who have been abused.   "Working with other agencies we seek to learn from experience in order to update understanding and practice."   Jailing Cranch at Bristol Crown Court, Judge Julian Lambert told him: "You took a little boy of eight and groomed him for your sexual pleasure.   "You stole his childhood by sexualising him.

After the case the victim said: "I'm pleased with the verdicts but the sentence could never be enough considering what I've gone through.   "I'm just relieved all this is over.   "There are a lot of questions that need to be asked of those who have helped Cranch to stay in the church."

Source: BBC News


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