Peterborough Catholic priest, 74, guilty of child sex abuse

BBC [London, England]

January 31, 2023


A 74-year-old Catholic priest who claimed allegations against him were “nonsense” has been convicted of abusing a child in the 1980s.

Dennis Finbow, who had worked in Peterborough, was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault against a girl aged between 10 and 13.

The trial at Huntingdon Crown Court heard the defendant had touched the girl while she was in bed.

Finbow, of Martlesham, Suffolk, will be sentenced on 8 March.

He was cleared of two other counts of indecent assault against the same girl and one count of indecent assault against a boy.

Following the verdicts, Finbow was granted bail, but the judge, Philip Grey, warned him to prepare for a immediate jail term which was the “almost inevitable outcome”.

In a police interview played to the jury, the female complainant said Finbow was “charismatic” and “everybody loved him”.

Prosecutor Nicholas Bleaney said when he was voluntarily interviewed, the defendant described the allegations “as nonsense and a fabrication”.

Safeguarding ‘paramount’

The Diocese of East Anglia said Finbow, who had also served in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, had retired and not been in active ministry since 2001.

The Right Reverend Peter Collins, Bishop of East Anglia, said he would be “seeking urgent legal advice” about removing Finbow’s clerical status and rights.

He added: “The safeguarding of children and vulnerable people is of paramount importance to the Catholic Church, and the Diocese of East Anglia has co-operated fully with the police and other statutory authorities throughout this investigation.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim in this case and also other victims of child sexual abuse.

“We would encourage any victim of child sexual abuse perpetrated within the Catholic Church context to make contact either directly through our safeguarding office or with safe spaces, our victim support service. “