The victim of a paedophile priest has criticised the Church of England after finally winning justice over abuse he suffered more than 20 years ago.
Rev Terence Reginald King, who was vicar at St Mary The Virgin Church in Dewsbury Road, Woodkirk, Leeds, for 22 years, hanged himself in 2002 while he was being investigated by West Yorkshire Police over a string of child sex abuse allegations.
Now in his 30s, one of King’s alleged victims, who was abused over several years from the age of 11, has won a six-figure compensation sum from the Anglican Church.
But the man said his ordeal had a lasting impact and he continued to feel let down by the Church.
He said: “They not only let me down by employing a paedophile, but did nothing to rectify this after King committed suicide even though they knew the abuse had taken place.
“They seemed to just hope the problem would disappear.
It is important to know that there is a growing amount of support for survivors of child abuse and that the police have a duty to investigate allegations of child abuse, regardless of the amount of time that has passedDino Nocivelli, lawyer
“It was a further 13 years before they finally accepted responsibility.”
A former Fleet Street journalist, King began his religious career working as a curate at Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury, from 1961 until 1965.
He moved in 1965 to become the vicar at Glass Houghton, Castleford, and in 1977 went to St Mary’s Church.
He had been investigated in the 1980s over allegations of sexual abuse against a young girl while at St Mary’s, but no charges were brought.
He was due to be questioned by officers over numerous other claims when he was found dead at his home in York, where he moved after his retirement.
His inquest heard he had made previous attempts on his life and that charges were being prepared at the time of his death, aged 69.
The man who has won compensation is now urging other victims to come forward.
He said: “I don’t know who those people are, but I want to put it out there that my case has been successful and anyone else who suffered at the hands of King should also take legal advice in order to get justice for his actions.”
He called on the Church to actively look into remedying every case and added: “Why have they not announced the fact that they knew he did this and why have they not encouraged other vicims to come forward?
“To date, the Church has still not apologised for King’s assaults or for failing me as a child. This continues to serve as an insult.”
His lawyer, Dino Nocivelli of Bolt Burdon Kemp, said: “My client brought his claim to finally obtain some closure from the impact of the abuse that he continues to suffer, and to obtain a sense of justice.
“The purpose of the civil claim was to finally obtain some redress for not only the pain and suffering that he has had to suffer but also the associated financial losses and expenses.
“This included the detrimental impact on his education, the subsequent impact on his career and earning capacity, private psychiatric treatment and other losses.”
He added: “It is important to know that there is a growing amount of support for survivors of child abuse and that the police have a duty to investigate allegations of child abuse, regardless of the amount of time that has passed since the actual assaults.”
The Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales said it deeply regretted the harm caused by King, who “grossly misused his position”.
A spokeswoman said: “We take very seriously any allegations of inappropriate behaviour and abuse, which are immediately reported to the police. We encourage any victims to come forward so that justice may be done.”
“Over the last decade we have implemented stringent safeguarding procedures, in accordance with national policies, which include the training of clergy and lay people in safeguarding matters. These procedures are continually being assessed, and we are working with a number of agencies to ensure that our churches are places of safety for all.
“Having only just been made aware that the case has concluded, the Bishop of Leeds will be in contact with this man.”