Retired CoE priest Vickery House charged with historic sex counts

The Argus: Retired CoE priest Vickery House charged with historic sex counts Retired CoE priest Vickery House charged with historic sex counts

A retired Church of England priest has been charged with a string of historic sex counts.

Vickery House was today charged with eight counts of indecent assault on one boy then aged 15, and five men, ranging in age from 17 to 34, between 1970 and 1986 in East Sussex and Devon.

A Sussex Police statement said House, of Brighton Road, Handcross, near Haywards Heath, had been charged “on the authority of the Crown Prosecution Service following an investigation by detectives from Sussex Police over the past 18 months”.

He faces two charges relating to a boy then aged 15 in Devon between 1970 and 1971, two charges relating to a man in East Sussex between 1976 and 1978, and 1983 and 1985, one charge relating to a man in East Sussex between 1978 and 1980, one charge relating to a man in East Sussex between 1981 and 1984, one charge relating to a man in East Sussex between 1984 and 1986 and one charge relating to a man in East Sussex between 1984 and 1986.

House was arrested in November 2012, and had been on police bail since.

Former Bishop of Lewes, Peter Ball, who was arrested on suspicion of sexual offences against boys and young men in East Sussex and in two cases elsewhere, between the 1970s and early 1990s, at the same time as House has not been charged.

Ball, now 81, was arrested at his home in Somerset on suspicion of sex offences but was taken ill en route to custody.

The CPS is still considering the case against him.

Speaking at the time of the pair’s arrests, The Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, said the arrests followed an investigation in which the Diocese of Chichester had been working closely with Sussex Police.

He said: “We can confirm that the retired bishop has had no ministry in Sussex for many years and no longer lives in this area.

“The retired priest has had his Permission to Officiate suspended.

“Our co-operation with Sussex Police in this investigation continues our ongoing commitment to do all that is necessary to bring any alleged criminal matters to the attention of the public authorities, and to ensure that the Diocese of Chichester is a safe place for all in our church communities, whilst being an unsafe place for any who may seek to abuse them.”

House is due to appear on bail at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, February 27.

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