June 2015

Jailed child abusing priest admits more child sex offences

Former priest sentenced for child sex offences

Retired priest Robert Coles has been sentenced to sixteen months imprisonment after admitting sex offences against a young boy.

Coles, from Eastbourne, is already serving an eight-year sentence for similar offences against three other young boys in West Sussex between 31 and 38 years ago.

The 16-month sentence will run consecutively to that eight-year sentence.

Coles, 74, of Upperton Road, Eastbourne, a now retired Church of England priest, pleaded guilty at Hove Crown Court on today to eight offences of indecent assault against a boy then aged between 11 and 15 between 1974 and 1977 – all at a vicarage where Coles formerly lived and worked in Foredown Drive, Portslade.

Coles is already in prison, serving an eight-year sentence imposed at Brighton Crown Court on February 14 2013 having pleaded guilty to 11 offences –

  1. One offence of buggery

  2. Four indecent assaults against a boy then aged 15 to 16 at a location in Chichester between 1982 and 1984

  3. Two of indecent assault of the same boy between 1982 and 1983,

  4. Three indecent assaults against each of two other boys who were aged 10 at the time of the alleged offences, in West Sussex and elsewhere, between 1978 and 1979.

The newly reported offences took place when the boy, who did not live in Sussex, visited Coles’ vicarage with other members of his family and stayed overnight.

Detective Inspector Jez Prior said; “Coles first conviction and sentencing two years ago was the culmination of a long and complex investigation, following information we received from the Diocese of Chichester, who have given their full co-operation throughout that case and the latest case. We were glad to be able to achieve justice for those three victims.

“But following the media coverage given to that case, the latest victim, now in his early fifties, felt he had to come forward and disclose what had happened to him. The CPS agreed that it was in the public interest to bring these offences before the court, and evidence was so clear that Coles had no choice but to admit his guilt.

“We admire the courage of victims who summon up the resolve, however long after the events concerned, to provide evidence and to be ready to give it and if necessary face giving that evidence and facing cross-examination in court.

“We will always take such reports seriously and we will investigate and recommend prosecution whenever the circumstances merit it.”

February 2013

Former priest sentenced for child sex offences

A RETIRED priest was sentenced to eight years in prison today (February 14), for 11 child sex offences.

Robert Coles, 71, of Upperton Road, Eastbourne, appeared at Brighton Crown Court and was sentenced for sexual offences against young boys.

At a hearing on December 14, at Chichester Crown Court, Coles pleaded guilty to 11 offences against a boy in Chichester between 1982 and 1984 and offences against two other boys, aged ten at the time.

The offences were: one offence of buggery and four indecent assaults against the first victim and three indecent assaults against each of the other two victims between 1978 and 1979.

A further seven offences, for which Coles was due to stand trial on June 10 were ordered to lie on file.

The offences took place in Devon, Cornwall, West Sussex and the Isle of Wight, in the late 1970s and early 1980s against boys aged between ten and 16 at the time.

The charges were as follows: three of buggery of a boy aged between 15 and 16 in Chichester between 1982 and 1984, two of indecent assault of the same boy between 1982 and 1983, and one each of indecent assault of two other boys, who were aged 10 at the time of the alleged offences Coles had pleaded not guilty to all these offences.

At today’s hearing, prosecutor Ryan Richter advised the court that, after consideration, including consultation with Sussex Police and the three victims, the Crown Prosecution Service had decided not to proceed with the seven outstanding charges.

The trial set for June 10, would not take place and sentencing Judge Anthony directed the seven charges would lay on the court file.

Coles was sentenced to a total of eight years – five years for buggery and two-and-a-half for each of the four indecent assaults against the same victim, all to run concurrently.

He was sentenced to 18 months for each of the three indecent assaults against the second victim and 18 months for the three indecent assaults against the third victim, to run consecutively with the sentences for the offences against the first victim.

Coles was also served with a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) prohibiting him from any contact with the three victims, from having any unsupervised contact with boys under 16, and from seeking any employment or voluntary work which would involve unsupervised access to children under 16.

He was also required to register as a sex offender for life on his release from prison.

Coles was arrested on March 6 last year following a six-month enquiry by Sussex Police detectives.

He was charged in August on the authority of the South East Complex Case Unit of the Crown Prosecution Service.