Wigan clergyman found guilty of historical sex crimes
A perverted Wigan clergyman has been found guilty of historical child sex crimes.
Francis Simpson molested four boys while a priest at Worsley Mesnes St Jude’s Church between 1980 and 1982.
Bolton Crown Court heard that the abuse, which involved sexual touching over clothing, took place on visits to the boys’ homes, in his car when taking them on trips and, in one victim’s case, when in class at school. The age range of the victims at the time was between seven and 15.
The 71-year-old of Knightscliffe Crescent, Shevington, had denied nine counts of indecent assault. But after eight days of evidence and two days’ deliberations, a trial jury returned nine guilty verdicts.
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Simpson may have thought he had got away with the shocking abuse of these boys, whose trust in him was so cruelly exploited.
“But by speaking out they have helped bring him to justice, and have shown that victims do not need to suffer in silence. We hope they are now receiving all the support they need to help them move forward with their lives.”
Records from 2017 show Simpson was on “administrative leave” from St Chad’s in Chorley, where he was appointed in 2016. Prior to this, he had been a parish priest in Litherland, Merseyside.
A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool said: “The Archdiocese acknowledges the verdict and expresses profound sorrow for the terrible crimes committed by him.
“The fact that these crimes took place in the past in no way lessens the serious impact of them on the victims, their families, their friends, the Church and the wider community. Our thoughts and prayers are with all concerned.”