Vicar jailed over sex acts with schoolboy

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A vicar who carried out a string of sexual abuse offences on a teenage boy has been jailed.

David Roberts, of Taunton, committed the offences in the mid-1980s when he was the chaplain at a school in Somerset.

Taunton Crown Court heard how he befriended one teenage boy, allowing the victim to smoke and drink alcohol in his office, before paying the boy money to carry out sex acts.

Roberts, former vicar at a church in the area, admitted five counts of sexual offences, including indecent assault.

Judge Graham Hume Jones jailed Roberts for 12 years, telling him: “You were in a position of trust ... you abused that trust.”

The court heard the abuse lasted for three years but was only reported to police recently when Roberts’s victim became a father and plucked up the courage to speak out.

Prosecutor William Hunter said Roberts, then aged in his 40s, first befriended his young victim leading to offending that escalated from kissing to serious sex acts.

Mr Hunter told the court: “He (Roberts) would allow the boy to smoke in his company.

“The victim thought of him (Roberts) as cool. He was like a father-figure.”

The court heard how Roberts initially asked if he could kiss the boy, paying him £5 for doing so.

The physical contact developed until Roberts was paying as much as £50 at a time. However, Roberts’s demands became more frequent.

The victim said he needed the money to fund his cannabis habit.

The court heard the offending had stopped by the late 1980s, and that it went undetected for more than two decades until the victim eventually spoke to police – a decision he had “agonised over”, Mr Hunter said.

“The Crown say he (Roberts) befriended (the victim) and took advantage of him,” Mr Hunter added.

Defending, Sean Brunton said his client, once of St John’s church in Taunton, was a man of previously good character and had pleaded guilty to the charges at an early stage.