Priest Francis McDermott charged with 20 non-recent sex offences against children in England
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Priest Francis McDermott charged with 20 non-recent sex offences against children in England

A RETIRED Catholic priest has been charged with 20 non-recent sex offences against children in High Wycombe and Norwich in the 1970s.

Father Francis McDermott, aged 75, of Atlantic Way, Westwood Ho, Biddeford, Devon will appear at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court on October 4.

The alleged offences related to six victims aged between 14 and 16.

The charges include one count of rape of a girl under 16, one count of a male person committing buggery with a boy under 16 and eight counts of indecent assault on a girl under 14.

He also faces one count of gross indecency of girl under 14 and four counts of gross indecency of a boy under 14.

Diocese statement

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The alleged incidents relate to the period from 1971 and 1978. Norwich was part of the Diocese of Northampton until 1976 while High Wycombe remains part of the Diocese.

In a statement, the Diocese of Northampton said: “As in all such cases, our thoughts and prayers are with those hurt by abuse in all forms.”

According to the Diocese, Fr McDermott withdrew from active ministry in 2005 and has not exercised any active ministry since then.

The Right Reverend Peter Doyle, Bishop of Northampton, said the Diocese would continue to co-operate fully with the Court proceedings “as the safeguarding of children and adults at risk is of paramount importance to the Catholic Church”.

It has advised anyone with any concerns relating to the case to contact either the Clergy Advisor for Safeguarding, Canon Michael Harrison (01536 203121), or the Diocesan Safeguarding Co-ordinator, Danielle Dixon (01604 723514).