Pervert Priest Could Be Jailed

Evening Post [United Kingdom]
February 26, 2007

Former Caversham priest Tony Jones who downloaded child pornography while serving in the parish has been told he may face jail.

Father Jones, priest of Our Lady and St Anne's Church from 1995 until September 2005, admitted three charges of making indecent images of children at Warwick Crown Court on Friday.

The 56-year-old was charged with 17 counts of making indecent images of children in July last year following a seven-month police investigation.

Father Tony Jones has admitted looking at child porn on his computer

He was arrested on Monday, June 12, last year, after officers seized computer hard drives in Caversham and at his new parish office in Leamington.

Fr Jones admitted two of the offences took place in Caversham and one in Leamington Spa, where he has been working at St Peter the Apostle Church since 2005.

One Caversham parishioner, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "I'm very surprised. I would have not expected it at all.

"He was very nice, very friendly, very charming very well-respected and loved in the parish. There was an enormous turn-out when he left.

"I was very surprised when he was arrested to be honest I would have hoped it would have turned out to be nothing, but there's always that no smoke without fire thing."

Fr Jones, who was ordained more than 30 years ago, made the images between January 2000 and November 2005.

His pleas were accepted by prosecutor Adrian Keeling, who said during the hearing: "They cover his conduct in the two parishes."

The priest's case had been repeatedly delayed because his lawyers were getting reports from computer and paediatric experts, who were analysing the ages of the people featured on the images found on the priest's computer.

At the time of his arrest the Archbishop of Birmingham, Vincent Nichols, released a statement which said: "Father Jones vehemently denies the charges. These events will cause

distress and dismay to many."

But last Friday, Fr Jones admitted his offences on the basis that he had been looking for other types of material on the internet, but had downloaded some images realising they would include images of child pornography which he then viewed.

Mr Keeling said one of the earlier images was categorised as level four by the Court of Appeal one of the most serious types of image.

Judge Richard Cole said "there ought to be a report" on Jones, who is now living at St Mary's Abbey in Little Hayward, Stafford, before he is sentenced.

He was granted bail with conditions of residence at that address and that he does not have contact with any child under the age of 18. The judge also ordered him to register with the police as a sex offender.

Adjourning the priest's case, Judge Cole warned him: "The reason for adjourning is so the probation officer can see you and prepare a report. It is not to be taken as indicating you will be dealt with in a non-custodial way, it is so the sentencing judge can have all the information about you."

Father Jones was also priest to St Anne's Primary School in Washington Road, Caversham, while he was parish priest.


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