Ex-Northampton diocese priest charged with historical child sexual abuse offences

The case will be heard at High WycombeMagistrates' Court next month
The case will be heard at High WycombeMagistrates' Court next month

A retired priest of the Diocese of Northampton has been charged wih 20 child sexual abuse offences.

Francis McDermott, who withdrew from active ministry in 2005, was charged on September 3 for offences he is alleged to have committed between 1971 and 1978.

The 75-year-old of Atlantic Way, Westwood Ho, Biddeford, Devon, faces 20 charges of non-recent sexual offences which took place in High Wycombe and Norwich.

McDermott has been charged with the following in relation to six victims: one count of rape of a female under the age of 16, one count of a male person committing buggery with a boy under 16, one count of gross indecency of girl under the age of 14, four counts of gross indecency of a boy under the age of 14, one count of indecent assault on a boy under the age of 14, eight counts of indecent assault on a girl under the age of 14, three counts of indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16, and one count of indecent assault on a boy under the age of 16.

The case will be heard at High Wycombe Magistrates' Court on October 4.

The Right Reverend Peter Doyle, Bishop of Northampton, said the diocese would continue to co-operate fully with the court proceedings as he said the safeguarding of children and adults at risk is of paramount importance to the Catholic Church.

"As in all such cases, our thoughts and prayers are with those hurt by abuse in all forms," said a Northampton diocese spokesman.

In the event of any concerns arising from this case, the diocese has advised people to contact either the clergy advisor for safeguarding, Canon Michael Harrison (01536 203121), or the diocesan safeguarding co-ordinator, Danielle Dixon (01604 723514).