Priest May Resume Duties
Didcot Herald [United Kingdom]
November 16, 2006
A Priest cleared of child sex allegations in South Africa could resume his duties in the pulpit of his village church near Wantage as soon as Sunday.
Parishioners who have supported him since the accusation was first made last April are expected to give him a warm welcome when he returns.
Father Tony Hogg, 52, who is vicar of Hanney, Denchworth and East Challow, was expected home last night after a charge of indecent assault on a ten-year-old boy was dropped by prosecutors in Cape Town earlier this week.
He was accused of sexually abusing the street child during a charity trip to the country. Father Hogg denied the allegation.
No reason was given for the withdrawal of the charge. Today, Father Hogg was expected to meet with the Bishop of Reading, the Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, before resuming his duties.
Sarah Meyrick, a press officer for the Diocese, said: "He may be back in church and resume services on Sunday, but we can't say for certain."
She added Father Hogg may well consider taking a few days off to recover from the lengthy trip.
Parish curate Father Stephen James who took over from Father Hogg at the request of the Bishop, said he had spoken to him after the case against him was dropped.
He said: "He spoke with great relief that it was all over and behind him.
"Whether or not he will start back straight away, or take holiday, I cannot say.
"There will certainly be many people who will welcome him home and be extremely relieved that this is all over."
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