Priest facing indecent assault allegations found dead

St Joseph's College

St Joseph's College

A Catholic priest facing historic allegations he indecently assaulted young boys has been found dead on the day he was due to answer bail.

Father Ernest Sands, 67, who taught at St Joseph’s College, Up Holland, was discovered at an address in Mid-Wales on the border near Oswestry in Shropshire.

Lancashire Police arrested Father Sands last year in connection with allegations against five boys dating back to the 1970s, who were aged between 11 and 15 at the time.

In a statement, Lancashire Police said: “A 67-year-old man was arrested last year in relation to historical offences of indecent assault.

“As a consequence of the investigation, charges were being sought in relation to five male victims aged between 11 and 15 at the time.

“The allegations related to him serving as a Catholic priest in the late 1970s and 1980s.”

A force spokesman added: “He had been due to answer bail on April 11, but was found dead at an address in Wales on April 11.”

There are no suspicious circumstances and a file has been passed to the coroner.

The police said the alleged victims had been informed.