Former Rye priest sentenced over indecent child images

Court news
Court news

A former Catholic priest in Rye was given an eight month prison sentence suspended for two years after pleading guilty to child porn offences today (Friday, February 5).

Paul Clarke, now of Urmston, Manchester, but formerly of Watchbell Road, will also be a registered sex offender for ten years and was given a sexual harm prevention order to last indefinitely, severely restricting his access to computers at Lewes Crown Court.

The 71-year-old pleaded guilty to a number of charges: one concerned his possession of an indecent image of a child, another concerned his possession of prohibited images, and three concerned his making a total of 3100 indecent images of children.

All the offences involved images taken from the Internet. There is no evidence of contact offending and none of the images are of local children.

The prosecution followed an intelligence-led investigation by the Paedophile On-Line Investigation Team of Sussex Police.

Officers had executed a search warrant at Clarke’s Rye address, the residential presbytery attached to St Anthony’s Church, on November 13, 2014, and seized computers and related material.

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