A Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced over sexual offences against a teenage boy in Horsham in the early 1990s.
Father Anthony White, 64, now of Cross-In-Hand, Heathfield, was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Friday 10 June, having been convicted at Chichester Crown Court on April 1 of two offences of indecent assault and an offence of buggery against a boy then aged 15 during 1992 and 1993, at the address where White was then living in Horsham while he was an Assistant Priest at St Johns Church.
White was sentenced to 10 years and six months for the offence of buggery, and five years for each offence of indecent assault, to run concurrently. He will serve two thirds of his sentence in prison.
The prosecution, authorised by the CPS, followed an investigation by detectives from the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit after a report was received by police for the first time in 2020. The victim has been supported by specially trained officers and officers have had full co-operation from church authorities throughout the investigation
Detective Constable Yvonne Daddow said: “White got to know the boy when he and his family attended the church. He gradually gained their confidence and the boy started to visit the priest’s address in Horsham on the pretext of doing some jobs around the house. However on the first occasion White plied the boy with drink and then raped him. On further occasions he also committed sexual assaults on the teenager.
“The victim kept these terrible experience to himself for nearly 30 years and they have had a very serious impact on his mental health and well-being all that time. Only when watching a TV documentary about unrelated cases of misconduct by priests did he feel able to come forward and disclose what had happened to him.
“I would like to thank the witnesses for their time in coming forward to support the police in this investigation.
“We will always investigate such cases and provide support to victims, seeking justice wherever possible no matter how long ago the events are said to have happened.”
For further information on reporting sexual offences and the support that is available, see the Sussex Police website.