Brighton and Hove church deacon jailed for webcam sex offences

Posted On 20 Nov 2015 at 7:45 pm

A church deacon has been jailed for nearly three years after he pleaded guilty to more than half a dozen sex offences.

Peter Keeley-Pannett, 71, of Bristol Road, Brighton, went on Skype and used his webcam to contact vulnerable teenage schoolboys.

Keeley-Pannett – also known as Peter Pannett – was jailed for 32 months at Guildford Crown Court yesterday (Thursday 19 November).

Peter Keeley-Pannett

Peter Keeley-Pannett

Sussex Police said: “A Sussex Church of England priest has been sentenced to a total of 32 months’ imprisonment after admitting sexual offences relating to young men.

“Peter Keeley-Pannett, 71, of Bristol Road, Brighton, appeared at Guildford Crown Court on Thursday (19 November), having pleaded guilty at previous hearing to seven counts.

“He admitted two offences of making a total of 150 indecent images of teenage boys.

“The other five related to two other teenage boys. These were

  • one of attempting to cause a boy over 13 to engage in sexual activity
  • two of causing a boy aged 13 to 15 to watch images of sexual activity
  • two of causing or inciting a boy aged 14 to engage in sexual activity

“He pleaded not guilty to a further charge of making indecent images and this was not proceeded with by the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service). It will lie on the court file.

“Keeley-Pannett was also issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) severely restricting his access to computers and children, to last until further court notice, and will be a registered sex offender for ten years.

“The prosecution resulted from an intelligence-led investigation by the Paedophile On Line Investigation Teams (POLIT) of Surrey and Sussex Police.

“Until his arrest in November last year Keeley-Pannett was a non-stipendiary Deacon in the Church of England’s Chichester Diocese, working in Portslade and Mile Oak.”

Bishop Peter Ball

Bishop Peter Ball

The parish includes St Nicolas Church, in the Old Village, St Andrew’s, in South Portslade, and the Church of the Good Shepherd, in Mile Oak.

He had also served at St George’s Church, in Kemp Town.

Sussex Police said: “All the charges of sexual activity relate to alleged use of webcam. None relate to physical contact and neither of the two boys are from Sussex. None of the indecent images are believed to be of local children.

“Police received full co-operation from the Diocese of Chichester throughout the investigation and the offences were not connected with his work in the diocese.”

Detective Constable Jon Merry said: “The intelligence leading to Keeley-Pannett’s arrest came from our ongoing operational work with law enforcement nationally.

“It became clear that he had been engaged in this type of offending for some years, which he admitted when we interviewed him.”

The diocese recently posted details of an NSPCC helpline on its website after cases involving others in the church, including the former Bishop of Lewes, Peter Ball.

The website notice said: “A special helpline has been set up for those who have been affected either directly or indirectly by recent publicity.

“The helpline will be staffed by the NSPCC and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“Calls will be handled sensitively and confidentially. Where appropriate, callers will be referred to specially trained police officers and, if required, a range of local counselling services, who are ready to offer expert support to those who come forward.

“The helpline number is 0800 389 5344.”

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