Former County Durham Archdeacon Denies Eight Allegations of Historic Sexual Abuse

By Will Metcalfe
Chronicle Live
June 18, 2015

Former Darlington and Aycliffe church minister George Granville Gibson, 79 leaves Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court charged with a number of historical sexual offences

A former County Durham archdeacon has denied a string of historic sex offences dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.

George Granville Gibson, often known as Granville, appeared before Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday facing eight allegations of historic sex abuse which are said to have taken place in Newton Aycliffe and Consett from 1977 to 1983.

The 79-year-old former Archdeacon of Auckland wore a charcoal suit with a blue shirt and pink tie and spoke to confirm his name, and enter not guilty pleas to all charges.

Gibson is alleged to have carried out four sexual assaults against a man aged 16 or over in Newton Aycliffe and Consett between 1977 and 1978.

He also denied four further counts of indecent assault on a second victim, in Newton Aycliffe between October 1979 and October 1983.

Walking with a stick he was accompanied by his solicitor Eric Watson as he left court.

District judge Stephen Harmes said: “This will be sent to Durham Crown Court. You will appear on July 1.”

Gibson came out of retirement in 2012 to help lead St James’ Church in Darlington.

Gibson, from West Crescent, in Darlington, was originally arrested in April 2014 and was charged on 7 May this year.

A statement from the Diocese of Durham said: “It is not our policy as a Diocese or as the Church of England to comment on individual cases, but we can confirm The Venerable Granville Gibson, of Darlington, a retired member of the Clergy in the Diocese of Durham has been charged in connection with historical sexual abuse offences.

“This matter is being dealt with under judicial process and so it would not be appropriate for us to comment in anyway that may prejudice that work.

“We will not be making any additional comments or statements on this court case or the circumstances surrounding it.

“We treat all matters of safeguarding with the utmost seriousness, sensitivity and urgency.

“When we learnt of the allegations, we took immediate action in accordance with our safeguarding procedures and have providing pastoral support to those involved.”

Gibson will appear before Durham Crown Court on July 1.








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