A MANIPULATIVE and twisted priest has been jailed for abusing and humiliating two boys for his sexual pleasure.

In the eyes of his congregation and the vulnerable, Jonathan Graves was a “fun priest” who was “great” with children and had an open-door policy at his vicarage.

But in secret, he was abusing his position as a Church of England vicar for St Luke’s Church in Stone Cross, near Eastbourne, to prey on the two children aged 12 and 13.

The 60-year-old was yesterday handed a 12-year prison term at Brighton Crown Court after being found guilty of 12 offences of historic sexual abuse and child cruelty dating back to the 1980s.

“Blissfully unaware” parents, who had come to him for support at a time of need, entrusted him with the care of their children at the vicarage in Culver Close.

In return, Graves subjected them to “vile behaviour”, a “string of secret masochistic rituals made out to be games” by plying them with alcohol, and tying them up with belts, scarves, chains, and padlocks while they were naked.

He whipped them with wet towels, canes and riding crops, before getting them to reciprocate, pushed their heads in the toilet, urinated on them, made them take cold showers and lick toothpaste from between his toes.

Graves, of Jervis Avenue, Eastbourne, appeared relaxed and even chatted to the dock officer while he waited to learn his fate.

He stood emotionless as he was handed consecutive sentences of eight and four years for indecent assault - making a total of 12 years behind bars - before raising his eyebrows in surprise.

Judge David Rennie said Graves knew he had a duty of care and vulnerable members of the congregation “opened their hearts” to him, adding: “The two families could not possibly have known what a catastrophic mistake that would turn to be.”

He said: “I have no doubt you did good work. But this is not the Robert Graves we learned about in this trial. That is not the secretive, cynical, manipulative and twisted Robert Graves.”

His victims were treated as “play things” to satisfy “perverted sexual desires” and his “overwhelming need” to humiliate and punish in order to become aroused and then subjected to a “final betrayal” when they were forced to relive the “torture” on the stand, he added.

Detective Inspector Jon Gross said: “I have nothing but the greatest respect for the victims in coming forward.”

Graves was cleared of five other allegations.