November 2018

Vicar who abused boy, 15, quietly moved to another parish by church

A vicar who sexually abused a 15 year old boy was quietly move to another parish by the church, it has emerged.

Mark Brydes Kiddle was given a 15-month suspended sentence in 1985 after admitting two offences of indecent assault against a 15-year-old boy while vicar of St Andrew’s in Kirton-in-Lindsey in Lincolnshire.

Rather than being defrocked Church of England bosses instead posted Kiddle described in court by the then Bishop of Lincoln as an “extremely diligent, imaginative and energetic priest” – to another role in a London parish.

His victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has now revealed he still struggles to talk about the abuse he suffered, revealing his pain to only a handful of people – and has only recently told his wife.

“I suppose when I was younger I was naïve, I thought he was just being kind,” he said.

“He had an Atari and video games that he would let me play. He taught me to drive, he would take me on trips, he would give me alcohol and it got to the stage where I would stay over at the vicarage quite regularly.

“We always slept in the same room and he would always sleep naked. It was a big old building and he said it was haunted but that ghosts couldn’t see you if you had nothing on.

“I can’t say exactly when the abuse started – looking back I don’t think I saw it as that at the time, I didn’t know what it was, and for years I completely blocked it out.

“I never told anyone, not even my parents. I thought my dad would have put him in hospital and he would probably have ended up being arrested. I didn’t want my dad to get locked up.”

It was months later that the truth finally came out, when an unknown person tipped off the police, believed to be someone from the parish who suspected Kiddle of inappropriate behaviour.

His victim was contacted by officers and gave a statement – the first time he had ever spoken about the abuse – and Kiddle was later prosecuted at Grimsby Crown Court, receiving two 15-month sentences to run concurrently, suspended for two years.

In hindsight the victim, who is now in his 50s, says keeping the secret ate away at him. Friends at school would ask why he was so angry all the time and he left with hardly any qualifications.

“I had enjoyed school and I was sporty but your self-esteem goes and I hated it, I just wanted to leave,” he said.

“It has affected me in lots of ways and I think it always will. I don’t have much respect for authority. I don’t trust people – I’ve got a biased slant of human nature, which is a shame because I think most people are inherently good and want to do the right thing.

“It’s affected my family as well – and I find it repulsive that he never once thought about the effect on them.

“My parents’ trust was abused. My wife and children have been on the receiving end of my dramatic mood swings for which I will forever carry guilt and shame.

“The church has protected the guilty and let the innocent be abused, but by speaking up I believe we can put pressure on the church to take action.

“I’m angry that the person who did this to me was just moved to another diocese. He was protected and promoted and I don’t think the church even now acts equitably. I think the Queen would be disgusted to find out about his past.

“There was no public apology from them at the time, no letters, no communications, they just tried to sweep it under the carpet. All of these things can’t be rectified.”

Richard Scorer, a specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who represents him, said: “Kiddle used his position of trust to groom both my client and his parents who believed their son would be safe in his care. He waged a calculated campaign of abuse against a vulnerable young boy and even exploited tragic family circumstances to his own advantage so he could continue to satiate his own sick desires.

“It is reprehensible that someone who was convicted of such a crime should be allowed to continue working in the church and in a role which presumably gave him unfettered access to other youngsters.

“There are far too many cases like this coming to light and the church, if it wants to restore public trust and confidence, must answer why that is.”

A Lincoln Diocesan spokesperson said: “This case was a serious breach of trust. There was the abuse of a young person who had every right to be safe in our church and who was harmed by someone from whom he sought care.

“Mr Kiddle did not continue in his position at St Andrew’s Church following the conviction in 1985. He was subsequently in an unpaid role under close supervision in two City of London churches.

“Under today’s procedures, anyone convicted of such offences would immediately be removed from their role and barred from ministry.