Wigan priest faces child sex rap

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court

A Wigan priest has appeared in court accused of historic child sex crimes, it has emerged.

Fr Francis William Simpson faces seven charges of indecent assaults on children dating back almost four decades.

The multiple accusations include two against a boy under the age of 16 and five against a boy under the age of 14.

All the attacks are alleged to have taken place between September 1 1980 and September 30 1982.

The 71-year-old of Knightscliffe Crescent, Shevington, denied the offences in a short hearing at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court in May.

The Wigan Post understands Simpson was a member of the clergy at St Jude’s RC Church, in Worsley Mesnes, between 1980 and 1982, the dates between which the crimes are alleged to have taken place.

A spokesman for the Archidiocese of Liverpool confirmed that Simpson was a priest at the church during those years, but that he had stopped working in the Archdiocese “some time ago.”

The Archdiocese declined to issue any further statement until proceedings conclude.

Records from 2017 show that 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 at Our Lady, Queen of Peace and English Martyrs in Litherland, Merseyside.

Simpson will next appear before a Bolton Crown Court judge on Wednesday June 20. He has been released on conditional bail pending his first appearance at crown court.