August 2001

Disgraced Yorkshire vicar jailed for child sex abuse

Disgraced former Yorkshire vicar Brian Baker was yesterday jailed for 27 months for sexually abusing two children 20 years ago.

Baker, 63, vicar of Staincliffe, Batley, from 1989 until 1993, indecently assaulted a 10-year-old girl at St Mary’s vicarage, East Stonham, Suffolk, while he was vicar there from 1980 to 1989.

He also committed acts of gross indecency with the girl’s younger brother while visiting them at their home.

Passing sentence on Baker at Ipswich Crown Court, Judge John Devaux said the divorced priest was guilty of “a wicked breach of trust” at a time when he had been a clergyman preaching Christian values.

The judge said the offences had been committed while Baker was in his early 40s and when the children and their parents had been staying under the same roof as him.

As well as jailing Baker for 27 months – of which he will serve half – he ordered him to be put on the Sex Offenders Register. Since resigning as vicar of Staincliffe, Baker has been living alone in another part of Batley.

He admitted indecently assaulting a girl in the early 1980s and committing an act of gross indecency with her.

He also admitted two charges of committing an act of gross indecency with her younger brother during a visit to their home in another part of the country.

Rosalyn Mandil-Wade, prosecuting, told the court that the indecent assault on the 10-year-old girl happened when she was visiting the Suffolk vicarage with her family in the early 1980s.

The girl had been sleeping on a camp bed in a spare room when Baker went in and put his hand inside her sleeping bag.

He had touched her genital area and told her to keep what had happened a secret or else they would both get into trouble.

During another visit, Baker had asked her to perform oral sex on him, said Miss Mandil-Wade.

Sexual abuse involving the girl’s younger brother happened when Baker visited the children’s home.

The boy had been playing snooker in his parents’ bedroom when Baker got him to perform a sex act on him. On another occasion Baker had committed a similar act in front of the boy.

Miss Mandil-Wade said the children had complained to their parents about what Baker had done to them and although Baker had been challenged about the matters the police had not been involved.

However the police were contacted about the allegations last year and Baker was arrested in December.