A ROMAN CATHOLIC priest who plied a teenage boy with drink before raping him has been jailed.
Father Anthony White, 64, now of Cross-In-Hand, Heathfield, Sussex, committed the offences during 1992 and 1983 when the boy was 15.
The offences took place at an address in Horsham where White was living while serving as an Assistant Priest at St John the Evangelist Church in the town.
A detective working on the investigation revealed how White carried out his crimes after winning the trust of the boy's family.
"White got to know the boy when he and his family attended the church," said Detective Constable Yvonne Daddow.
"He gradually gained their confidence and the boy started to visit the priest's address in Horsham on the pretext of doing some jobs around the house.
"However on the first occasion White plied the boy with drink and then raped him.
"On further occasions he also committed sexual assaults on the teenager."
At Chichester Crown Court on April 1, White was convicted of two offences of indecent assault and one offence of buggery.
This week, he was sentenced to 10 years and six months for the buggery offence and handed five years for each of the indecent assaults, to run concurrently.
He must serve two thirds of his sentence in prison.
DC Daddow revealed the victim first disclosed the offences to police in 2020 after watching a documentary about similar crimes.
"The victim kept these terrible experiences to himself for nearly 30 years and they have had a very serious impact on his mental health and well-being all that time," she said.
"Only when watching a TV documentary about unrelated cases of misconduct by priests did he feel able to come forward and disclose what had happened to him."
Bishop Richard Moth of the Arundel & Brighton Diocese apologised to the victim and hoped his actions would encourage others who had been abused to come forward.
"I hope that the sentencing of Fr Anthony will bring some comfort to those who have suffered, although it can never undo the harm they have experienced or the long wait for justice they have had to endure," he said in a statement.
"I renew the apologies previously made for the abuse suffered by anyone in the care of those ministering or working on behalf of the Church.
"All allegations of abuse are taken seriously and are reported to the police.
"It is hoped that publicity from a case like this will encourage survivors to come forward knowing that they will be heard, and that justice can be achieved."