Former Church of England Vicar is a “dangerous offender” and is convicted of online abuse | Bolt Burdon Kemp Former Church of England Vicar is a “dangerous offender” and is convicted of online abuse | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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Former Church of England Vicar is a “dangerous offender” and is convicted of online abuse

A former Church of England vicar has been convicted for a fourth time for downloading images of child sex abuse.

The police arrived unannounced at Paul Battersby’s home to carry out checks following similar offences in 2017.  Alarmingly, police discovered over 800 images – some of girls as young as two as well as images of adults having sex with animals.

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Simon Hickey described Battersby as a “dangerous offender” and sentenced him to a four-year prison term with an extended licence of three years.  He was also made subject to a new sexual harm prevention order and will sign the sex offenders register.

Battersby was as a Church of England vicar for over 30 years in various churches across the north of England and has numerous previous convictions.

In April 2007, Bettersby’s wife reported him after his stepson saw indecent images on his computer.  In 2009, Battersby was found to have breached a court order monitoring his use of the internet.  Approximately a year later, he was sentenced to 12 months after over 150 images of children were found on a laptop used to organise missionaries for the Church of England.  He was also convicted in 2017 when police found a shoebox full of children’s clothes at his home along with 1,730 indecent images of children he had downloaded.

Bolt Burdon Kemp have successfully sued religious organisations for abuse committed by individuals that they have placed in a position of authority, irrespective of whether the abuse is perpetrated against an adult or child.  We have also successfully brought claims on behalf of survivors of online abuse.

The devastating impact on survivors who suffer abuse, particularly at the hands of someone in a position of such responsibility, authority and trust can be significant and long-lasting.  If you or anyone you know is affected by this development, please feel free to contact my team for assistance.

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