Vicar found guilty of sexually assaulting student on a transatlantic flight

ITV News

June 26, 2019

A vicar has been found guilty of sexually assaulting an American male student on a transatlantic flight. A jury returned a unanimous verdict at Newcastle Crown Court.

The Reverend Peter McConnell, who was a vicar at Longhorsley, in Northumberland, had denied the claim.

The 23-year-old PhD student said he was subjected to “sleazy comments” and groped under a blanket on overnight flight 0066 from Philadelphia to Heathrow in March 2017.

The 64-year-old clergyman, who was vicar at St Helen’s Church, in Longhorsley, Northumberland, had been in the USA to visit his sister after she suffered a serious illness. The court heard he’d had up to five quarter bottles of wine during the flight, although he denied he was drunk.

The student said he reported what had happened to the airline and the Church of England. The police became involved as a result.

McConnell will be sentenced on 29 July 2019.

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