January 2019

Former priest given an extended prison sentence 

A former priest has been given an extended prison sentence totalling 20 years for the historic abuse of boys in Huddersfield.

David Crowley abused at least 11 boys in Huddersfield, Bradford and Devon between 1981 and 1996.

The 64-year-old has previously served time in prison for 15 charges of sexual offences against nine of those boys and was released in 2004.

Now, he is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison after two more of his victims from Huddersfield came forward with allegations that he had abused them while they were below the age of 13.

He worked in a Catholic primary school in Huddersfield and was an assistant priest at a Catholic church in the town and after he was moved to Bradford and later to Devon, he continued abusing boys.

Crowley would groom the boys with alcohol and cigarettes.

He would perform oral sex on the boys, get them to perform oral sex on him and they would also masturbate each other.

He would also encourage a group of boys to strip off, lay on the floor naked and touch each other while he watched – which he would call ‘gratification’.

Leeds Crown Court heard Crowley signed four contracts made out by the bishop agreeing to only have ‘formal and minimal’ contact with young boys but he ‘systematically breached it’.

Recorder Mark Cran QC told Crowley he had a ‘very strong urge to abuse boys whenever he could’, adding: “You demonstrated a repeated understanding of how to bring young boys under your spell.”

The court heard he lacks any remorse.

On the first day of a trial in March last year, Crowley pleaded guilty to six counts of indecent assault and two counts of indecency with a child.

Sentencing was adjourned as a relative of the victim suggested police should contact another man who had similar allegations against Crowley.

He denied those offences, subjecting that victim to a trial, and in December was found guilty of nine counts of indecent assault and three counts of indecency with a child.

Both of his victims, who are entitled to lifelong anonymity, now struggle to trust other males. One said: “You can trust someone like that and that is what they to do you.”

One of the victims struggles with shame, was afraid of coming forward in case he was named in the press and turned to drugs and crime.

Crowley, previously of Abbey Holme, Overton Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, was told he must serve a custodial term of 18 years, two thirds of which must be spent in custody.

He must serve a further two-year period on licence.

He was also made the subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

The judge told Crowley his victims had revealed an ‘appalling abuse by you of your position of trust and authority’ and he had offended ‘in order to seduce for your own perverted pleasure two boys leaving them with psychological harm for the rest of their lives’.