THE Church of England has been hit by a fresh blow after another clergyman was jailed for sex crimes involving teenage boys.

Peter Keeley-Pannett has been sentenced to 32 months in prison after he used the webcam application Skype to view underage boys whom he contacted through internet chat rooms, while working as an unpaid deacon at the St Nicolas Church, Portslade.

He pleaded guilty to making over 150 indecent images of underage boys, and to several counts relating to causing teenage boys between 13 and 15 to engage in sexual activity.

The Diocese of Chichester has been rocked by repeated sex abuse cases in the last two years but this is the first which relates to recent offences rather than historic cases dating from the 1970s and 80s.

When former Lewes priest Vickery House was convicted of sex offences last month, Rob Marshall, a spokesman for the Bishop of Chichester, said the case would “touch wood” be the last to come to light.

But these offences, dating back to 2010, prompted one campaigner to suggest that the church should make applicants undergo psychological screening.

Keeley-Pannett, 71, of Bristol Road, Brighton, appeared at Guildford Crown Court having pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to seven counts.

The suspended deacon, and former alcoholic, admitted two offences of making a total of 150 indecent images of teenage boys, and five further offences related to two other teenage boys.

These five offences were attempting to cause a boy over 13 to engage in sexual activity, two of causing a boy aged 13 to 15 to watch images of sexual activity and two of causing or inciting a boy aged 14 to engage in sexual activity.

He pleaded not guilty to a further charge of making indecent images and this was not proceeded with by the CPS. It will lie on the court file.

Keeley-Pannett was also issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) severely restricting his access to computers and children, to last until further court notice, and will be a registered sex offender for ten years.

Despite his co-operation "there is something very wrong here and something needs to be done," judge Robert Fraser said as he jailed him.

The premeditation, the age gap and the vulnerability of the children were all aggravating factors, he said.

Darren Greenwood, of Switalskis solicitors, has acted on behalf of several victims of abuse by Sussex bishop Peter Ball, who was jailed in October for offences against young men in the 1980s.

He said that those connected with the church can sometimes consider themselves immune to secular law.

He added: “To bring the whole thing back to secular ideals of good conduct would be a good start.

“The church could use psychological profiling, and check new entrants have a good common sense grounding on issues based in reality not theology.”

All the charges relate to the webcam rather than physical contact and neither of the two boys are from Sussex. None of the indecent images are believed to be of local children.

Police received full co-operation from the Diocese of Chichester throughout the investigation and the offences were not connected with his work in the Diocese.