05 February 2019, The Tablet

Paedophile priest jailed for two years

A Catholic priest has been jailed for two years and two months for abusing four boys in front of their parents, one as young as seven.

Father Francis Simpson, now aged 71, and who pleaded not guilty at Bolton Crown Court, was a priest at St Jude's, Wigan in the 1980s when the abuse took place.

He was brought to justice after a survivor shared what had happened to him on Facebook. 

A spokesman for the NSPCC said: "Simpson may have thought he had got away with the shocking abuse of these boys, whose trust in him was so cruelly exploited. But by speaking out they have helped bring him to justice, and have shown that victims do not need to suffer in silence."

A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool said: "At the conclusion of a trial at Bolton Crown Court last month Francis William Simpson was found guilty of the charges he was facing and today he has been sentenced for his crimes.

"The Archdiocese of Liverpool acknowledges the sentence and expresses profound sorrow for the terrible crimes which he committed.  At the conclusion of his sentence Francis William Simpson will not be returning to any form of ministry in the Church.

"The fact that these crimes took place in the past in no way lessens the serious impact of them on the victims, their families, their friends, the Church and the wider community.  Our thoughts and prayers are with all concerned.

"For many years now, the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Liverpool have had in place robust safeguarding procedures to protect all vulnerable groups, including children, and to bring perpetrators to justice.  We encourage anyone with knowledge or suspicion of such offences to bring them to the attention of the Police and statutory authorities."




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