Ex-teacher Chris Howarth "Abused Young Boys at Home, in Church and at School', Court Told

Kent and Sussex Courier
July 10, 2015

TRIAL: Ex-Uckfield Community College deputy head teacher Chris Howarth

A popular ex-teacher and assistant priest sexually assaulted two young boys who he bribed with cash, gifts and help with their homework, a court heard.

Chris Howarth, who is married, allegedly forced his victims to engage in a series of "weird" acts which included dirty talk, rubber shoes and a gas mask.

The court was told he abused the youths at his Uckfield home, at church, in his school office and in his caravan in return for payments of up to ?100 a week between 2004 and 2012.

The 67-year-old is currently on trial charged with 20 counts of sexual activity involving the boys, who both attended Uckfield Community Technology College, where he taught subjects including maths, religious studies and languages and was deputy head for 38 years.

In a police interview video recorded in 2012, one of the complainants said the offences occurred spanned a number of years while he was aged between nine and 15, Hove Crown Court was told.

He described how Howarth was considered a "legend" in the community he was also the reverend at Holy Cross Church and that he was initially apprehensive about going reporting it to the police, fearing no one would believe the accusations.

During the interview, shown to an all-female jury on Wednesday,(July 8) he said: "One day [(on the first occasion]) I was in a terrible mood; I think I had been arguing with my mum. I was talking to him about it and he put his arm around me and hugged me. I thought it was a bit weird. He started circling his hand on my tummy and then he started fiddling with me. I told him I didn't like it but he kept doing it.

"He would make me do weird things for money. It completely changed me and it has freaked me out a lot.

"He was obsessed with me rubbing and licking his nipples. He would take photos of me, and he would pull my trousers down and spank me as well. Once, he took a photo of me tied up in a chair with a gas mask on.

"Sometimes he would talk really dirty to me and he would also make out he was in love with me, which I thought was really freaky. He said he wanted to give me everything and make my life perfect."

The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he used the money to fuel his cannabis habit.

He added: "After a while he started to give me quite a bit of money. My parents are skint, so I don't really get any money from them. He said '"make my dreams come true and I'll make your dreams come true'".

"At first I didn't think anyone would believe me because everyone loves him and thinks he's a legend."

It is alleged the alleged abuse only stopped in 2012 when the victim got a job and subsequently a form of income, and his employers encouraged him to report it to police.

An online petition entitled "Support Rev Chris Howarth" was launched in response to the charges. It has been signed by more than 700 people, some of whom refer to the pensioner as "inspirational" and "supportive".

Howarth, of Rocks Park Road in Uckfield, has pleaded guilty to one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

He denies the other 19, of which six involve alleged sexual assault.

The trial continues.








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