Priest's Son Asked to Leave His Vicarage Home after Child Pornography Conviction

By Jeremy Culley
Bolton News
July 31, 2015

GUILTY: Paul Holt, son of Rev Wendy Oliver

THE disgraced son of a Bolton priest has been ordered to leave his vicarage home after he was convicted of possessing child pornography.

Paul Holt, son of Rev Wendy Oliver, confessed at Bolton Crown Court to an interest in 'the feet of young children' before being spared a prison sentence on July 20.

When the case finished, the Diocese of Manchester said it would be looking into the 'implications' for the parish at Christ Church, Harwood.

The Diocese has now said it is 'important' that Holt does not continue to live at Harwood Vicarage in Stich-mi-Lane with his mother.

In a statement to parishioners, the Diocese added that Mrs Oliver has 'felt it appropriate to take leave from her duties'.

The conviction came after 2,565 indecent images had been found on his computer. Holt had admitted 16 counts of possessing indecent images and distributing them.

The Bolton News understands Mrs Oliver has not left her position permanently.

The Diocese described Holt's crimes as being of the 'utmost seriousness', and said procedures were put in place as far back as December 2013 to ensure he had no contact with children.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Manchester said: "As a Diocese, we treat the protection of children as a top priority. We have clear safeguarding policies, and employ a full time safeguarding officer.

"Since Paul was charged in May 2014, we have been working with the police and local agencies to ensure that the situation has been handled robustly.

"Procedures were put in place from December 2013 when all this first came to light, which sought to ensure that Paul had no unsupervised contact with children in the church, and he has not attended Sunday worship at Christ Church since being charged."

The spokesman added: "In the circumstances, we recognise that from all points of view, it is important that Paul does not live at the Vicarage.

"At this time, Wendy has also felt it appropriate to take some leave from her duties. For immediate parish matters, people should contact either the wardens, Rev Jo McKee or Rev Heather Molloy.

"Whilst recognising the gravity of these offences and justice needing to be done, as Christians, may we all remember that no one puts themselves beyond the love, mercy and forgiveness of God."

Holt was trapped by an international investigation led by Canadian Police.

Officers raided the vicarage at Christ Church Harwood on December 3, 2013, where Holt was found in an upstairs bedroom.

They seized a computer which was sent away for examination.

Holt's marriage had broken down at the start of his offending and he had started to drink heavily.

Mrs Oliver had taken a 'compassionate but firm' approach with him, the court was told.

Holt was sentenced to an intensive community order, involving a three-year supervision and sex offender group work programme, and will have to sign the sex offenders register for five years.

Mrs Oliver declined to comment.








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