A RETIRED Catholic priest has been jailed after admitting to historical sexual offences carried out in the 1960s.
Anthony Barker, 89, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault at Durham Crown Court on December 22, 2021.
On Friday, Barker, of Queensway, Hexham, Northumberland, was sentenced to a 28-month custodial sentence and placed on the sex offenders' register for 10 years.
The court heard how Barker abused a child in his care on the grounds of the former Ushaw College, a former Catholic seminary in Durham, north-east England.
His young victim had harboured hopes of joining the priesthood, but these were ruined after the abused suffered at the hands of Barker.
"Barker abused his position to exploit a young child who had hopes to one day serve in the clergy — he shattered their trust completely," said Durham Constabulary Safeguarding Officer Damian Burns.
"His guilty plea and subsequent conviction is a testament to the victim's harrowing account that was provided and I hope this provides some sort of justice for the pain they held onto for all of these years."
The Northern Echo reports that Barker's victim was around 12 or 13 when the abuse began.
Stephen Littlewood, prosecuting, said the abuse started with touching of genitalia but moved on to Barker making the victim perform sex acts on him.
Having trained at Ushaw College, Barker went on to have a successful teaching career.
The college closed in 2011 due to a shortage of vocations.