Former Brighton vicar convicted of sexual abuse

Posted On 27 Oct 2015 at 4:44 pm

A retired Brighton vicar has been found guilty at the Old Bailey today (Tuesday 27 October) of sexually abusing boys and young men.

Vickery House

Vickery House, the former vicar of St Bartholomew’s Church, in Brighton, denied charges of abusing the men and boys ranging in age from 15 to 34 over a 16-year period.

Some of the offences took place at the Sussex home of the disgraced former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball. And they involved young men who were also abused by Ball.

The Spearhead

House, 69, of Brighton Road, Handcross, was convicted of five charges of indecent assault in total after a 12-day trial. They involved a 15-year-old boy and three young men.

The abuse was alleged to have taken place between dates in April 1970 and January 1986.
Four of the offences were claimed to have been committed in the Berwick area of East Sussex and four in other parts of the country.
House, who has also officiated at the Church of the Annunciation, in Washington Street, Hanover, was arrested by Sussex Police in November 2012.
He will be sentenced on Thursday (29 October).
Detective Inspector Jez Prior of Sussex Police said: “This complex investigation began when we received information from the Church of England in May 2012, concerning one of the victims who he has been found guilty of assaulting. The others came forward during the investigation.
“The case was about power that House, who was a priest when all these offences were committed, exercised while he was responsible for ministering to their spiritual needs, and it was about opportunism, as he took advantage of situations in which to sexually assault them.
“Our investigation into House began in May 2012 when we followed up information we received from the Church of England about Bishop Peter Ball.
“This led us to the first of House’s victims, three others came forward as a result of publicity about our investigation later that year and the other victim was traced by police as a result of the investigation.
“Ball was sentenced to 32 months imprisonment at the Old Bailey on (Wednesday) 7 October as a result of our investigation of his offending.
“We had complete co-operation from the Church of England throughout this investigation.
“It is clear that some of House’s offending in East Sussex took place at the same time that Ball was offending against his victims, three of who were also victims of House, while the pair were engaged in helping to run a religious study project at a then Church-run centre in Litlington, East Sussex.
“We found no evidence that they offended together but if Peter Ball had not pleaded guilty in September this year, then they would have been tried together.
“There is no evidence they offended against an individual victim at the same time or that House was aware of Ball’s offending.
“All the victims were ready to give evidence in court. The statements of two of them were shown by video and the defence did not seek to cross-examine them.
House pleaded not guilty throughout, and we admire their resolve and strength of purpose, which has enabled a man who abused his privileged position to be brought to justice.”
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