'Beatles church' vicar John Roberts jailed for child sex abuse

BBC News
December 21, 2020

captionRoberts was vicar at the Woolton church where John Lennon and Paul McCartney met

A former vicar who sexually abused children for four decades in a "despicable" exploitation of trust has been jailed.

Rev John Roberts, 86 and of Cherry Vale, Woolton, was found guilty of ten counts of indecent and sexual assault at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday.

Roberts was vicar at St Peter's Church in Woolton, which is known as the "Beatles church" due to it being where John Lennon and Paul McCartney met.

He was jailed for nine years.

Merseyside Police said three people reported attacks by Roberts in 2018 - one who had been assaulted as a boy in the 1980s, one who he attacked when they were a child in the 2000s, and one who was abused as an adult in the 2010s.

Roberts, who was found guilty of ten counts of indecent and sexual assault following a trial, was previously convicted of sexual assault in 1989.

Speaking after sentencing, Det Ch Insp Gayle Rooney paid tribute to the "dignity and bravery" of the people who had reported the former clergyman, who had had "to live with the pain and suffering Roberts inflicted on them for many years".

"They trusted Roberts... and he abused that trust in the most despicable way," she said.

"Their lives have been deeply affected by these crimes and they have all shown immense courage in coming forward."




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