Bishop Says Sorry for Sex Abuse Priest

By James Hamilton
Sunday Herald
November 17, 2007

A BISHOP made a public apology yesterday for the child sex abuse committed by a former vicar in his diocese 20 years ago.

The Bishop of Whitby, the Right Reverend Robert Ladds, said he was sorry to the individuals affected by the actions of former Middlesbrough clergyman Trevor Ward.

Ward's victims were invited to the special service to pray for a return of trust to the parish of the Church of St Agnes in Easterside.

Ward was jailed for seven years and stripped of his priestly orders after being convicted of nine counts of sexual abuse in March 1988. He died last December.

More than 40 people attended the same church yesterday to hear the bishop speak on behalf of the diocese of York. He said: "I apologise for the church's failure to appoint a good and godly minister to this parish, for the failure to empathise with and to acknowledge appropriately the depth of the hurt suffered by individuals and the community as a result of the abusive activity of Trevor Ward, and for the length of time it has taken for this apology to be given."

The service took place 20 years after Ward's arrest and subsequent resignation. He was convicted at Teesside Crown Court in 1988 of one charge of buggery, two counts of gross indecency and six offences of indecent assault on boys.

Reverend Margery Grange, the present Priest-in-Charge at St Agnes, said the hurt caused by Ward was still evident in the community. "Let us commit ourselves to actively fighting against the abuse of children," she said.



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