'Monster' priest jailed for historical sex offences against young boy

'Monster' priest jailed for historical sex offences against young boy

A PRIEST has been jailed for five-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to a number of sexual offences against a young boy.

Father Paul Clarke, 74, from Trafford, Greater Manchester, pleaded guilty to six counts of indecency against a boy under the age of 13.

The incidents took place during the late 1970s and 1980s when the priest was serving in the Diocese of Northampton.

Clarke, who pleaded guilty last month, was sentenced at Northampton Crown Court on Friday.

In an impact statement, the victim, a former altar boy, said Clarke had stripped him of his childhood.

“I wish to feel safe and happy in the future and know that no other children have to suffer at the hands of this monster,” he told the court.

Clarke has also been placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.

Never too late

“Today marks the end of a lengthy investigation into the actions of Father Paul Clarke, who admitted indecently assaulting a young boy while he was serving in Northampton,” said DC Brendan Breslin from Northamptonshire Police.

“These crimes date back to the late ’70s and ’80s, at a time when the victim felt unable to tell anyone about what happened to him.

“I would like to commend the victim for coming forward and telling us what happened to him and for supporting the investigative process.

“I hope the conclusion of the case helps to provide some comfort to him.

“I want to reassure victims of historic sex offences that action can be taken and offenders can still be held to account for their actions, no matter when the incident took place.

“I encourage anyone who has been a victim of sexual offences to seek any support they need, including reporting incidents to the police.”

Earlier this month, another former priest from the Diocese of Northampton appeared in court charged with 20 sex offences against six children in the 1970s.

Father Francis McDermott, aged 75, of Atlantic Way, Westwood Ho, Biddeford, Devon was bailed to appear at Aylesbury Crown Court on November 6.