A ROMAN Catholic priest has been jailed for sex offenses against a teenager he met at church.
Father Anthony White was found guilty of two counts of indecent assault and one of sodomy against the boy.
The offenses occurred in the early 1990s at an address where White lived in Horsham when he was assistant priest at St John’s Church.
The 64-year-old was sentenced to ten years and six months in prison for the sexual assault.
White, now of Cross-In-Hand, Heathfield, was also given five years for each indecent assault offense to run concurrently.
He will serve two-thirds of his sentence in prison.
Detective Constable Yvonne Daddow said: “White got to know the boy when he and his family went to church.
“He gradually gained their trust and the boy started visiting the priest’s address in Horsham on the pretext of doing some work around the house.
“However, the first time, White satiated the boy with drink and then raped him. On other occasions, he also sexually assaulted the teenager.
“The victim kept these terrible experiences to himself for nearly 30 years and they had a very serious impact on his mental health and well-being during that time.
“It wasn’t until watching a TV documentary about unrelated misconduct involving priests that he felt able to come forward and reveal what had happened to him.”
He was supported by specially trained officers and the officers had the full cooperation of church authorities throughout the investigation, police said.
“I want to thank the witnesses for taking the time to come out and support the police in this investigation,” added Detective Constable Daddow.
“We will always investigate such cases and provide support to victims, seeking justice where possible, no matter how long ago the events may have occurred.”
The charge followed an investigation by detectives from the West Sussex Safeguard Investigations Unit after a report was first received by police in 2020.