Church preacher sentenced for child sex abuse
A former lay preacher has been jailed for eight years for indecently assaulting a boy he met during his time at a church.
Jeremy Dowling, the former spokesman for the Bishop of Truro, had the eight years added to a seven-year prison term he was already serving for offences against boys.
He has now been found guilty of sexually abusing a boy.
He carried out the assaults on a 10-year-old he met in 1973 at St Michaels Church at Budehaven, Truro Crown Court heard.
Dowling, now 78, was already serving a sentence for abusing boys during his career as a teacher in the 1960s.
He admitted those offences last year.
He has now been convicted of a further six charges relating to the indecent assault of a boy under the age of 14 between 1973 and 1977.
Judge Simon Carr told him: “The boy looked up to you. He attended church for help and guidance and what he found was you.
“He looked to you as a role model. He enjoyed your company. But you abused him over a period of four years, from the age of 10. You enjoyed not only the sexual gratification, but also the risk.”
The Judge said that taking into account last year’s sentencing, Dowling would now serve a total of 15 years in prison. He will not be eligible for parole until he has served at least half of that term.
The boy, now a man in his 50s, made his complaint to police after reading news reports of the previous court case. Two further charges of gross indecency, which Dowling also denied, were withdrawn at the end of the trial.
A Truro Crown Court jury of seven women and five men took just over two hours to reach its unanimous guilty verdict.
The four day trial heard the man describe how Dowling “took him under his wing” to encourage a career in the church, but at the same time indecently assaulted him at least once a week.
He said the abuse happened when he stayed overnight at Dowling’s home, although Dowling’s wife Daphne said she had no memory of the boy ever visiting.
“We know that potential witnesses have either died or could not be traced. We know that television franchises have changed. You should say to yourself `I need to be careful.`”
Addressing the jury on why the complainant might have waited so long to make his allegations, the Judge added that traumatic events or episodes affected people in different ways: “There is no uniform way that people complain about offences. Some run screaming from the room. Others wait years, or even decades. Don’t make assumptions.”
Dowling worked as a lay preacher at St Michael’s church, Budehaven, and later at St Gennys church, Crackington Haven, before becoming the official spokesman for the Diocese of Truro – a position he held for nearly two decades, before retiring in 2009
Ex Teacher Jailed For Child Attacks
A Bude man who abused children for more than ten years has been jailed.
Jeremy Dowling used to be a teacher before becoming press officer for the Diocese of Truro.
The 77 year old admitted the sex attacks on five youngsters.
On Friday afternoon, a judge at Truro Crown Court sentenced Dowling to seven years behind bars.
Dowling was charged with 15 counts of indecent assault, which happened when he worked as a teacher in Cornwall.
The investigation was launched after five former pupils came forward to complain they were victims of sexual abuse.
Truro Crown Court heard it had happened between 1959 and 1971 during a cricket match, in an attic and storage rooms. One attack took place on a train and another in Dowling’s home, while his then pregnant wife was out.
The court also heard how there was an investigation into allegations in 1972 but that it did not come to anything because some parents did not want to put their children through the court process or for the school to get bad publicity. Dowling resigned from his job and no charges were brought.
More than 40 years later, in 2013, a victim came forward and another police investigation was launched.
Diocese of Truro press officer has admitted sexually abusing five schoolboys
Jeremy Dowling, 76, carried out the assaults on five children, aged between 12 and 15, from 1959 to 1971.
Truro Crown Court heard Dowling abused the boys at sporting events and in toilets while working as a teacher in Devon.
The Bishop of Truro described Dowling’s offences as “deeply shocking” and said his thoughts were with the victims.
Sentencing was adjourned until July 10 for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.
Dowling, of Church Path, Bude, retired from the Diocese of Truro in 2009 after 25 years of service.
He pleaded guilty to 13 counts of indecent assault on boys aged 12 to 15 and two counts of indecency with a child.
The court heard one assault was carried out on a boy at a cricket match. Others took place in an attic, in storage rooms at a sporting pavilion and in outside toilets.
The Right Reverend Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro, said many people would have known Dowling as a reader at St Michael’s Church and St Genny’s Church in Bude and as a member of the Diocesan and General Synods.
Bishop Thornton said: “Offences like this will have a damaging and lasting impact on people’s lives.
“It will probably be of some comfort to them that Jeremy Dowling has finally been brought to justice, but let us not deny that crimes such as his cause people to doubt themselves, their relationships, their faith – all aspects of life.”
The bishop said safeguarding children and vulnerable adults in the Church was “of paramount importance” and “informed by the voices and experiences of survivors”.