Retired C of E Archdeacon jailed for third time for 1970s sexual abuse | Crime

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A former archdeacon has been jailed for a third time after being convicted of sexually abusing a teenager in the 1970s.

Retired Auckland archdeacon George Granville Gibson, 86, was jailed for 21 months after being convicted at Durham crown court of two counts of indecent assault on a youngster aged 17 or 18.

Gibson was accused of rubbing up against his victim in a church hall and at a party, leaving the teenager embarrassed and humiliated.

The complainant came forward to police after seeing media reports of Gibson’s first trial in 2016, when he was jailed for 12 months for indecently assaulting two men in the 1970s.

Gibson, from Darlington, was convicted in 2019 of indecently assaulting a teenager, again in the 1970s, and was given a further 10 months.

On Thursday, Judge James Adkin told the defendant his offending was aggravated as it was a breach of trust. Only an immediate custodial sentence could be imposed despite Gibson’s age and the fact that he had undergone chemotherapy for cancer, the judge said.

“Hubristic sex offenders in a position of authority need to know that they will be sent to prison if they abuse children,” the judge said.

Rob Mochrie, defending, said police only interviewed the victim before Gibson’s second trial in 2019 and he argued those offenses could have been added to that case.

But the judge said Gibson could have avoided this latest prosecution by admitting what he did to this person at one of his previous trials.

“This was a pattern of offending,” the judge said. “You committed offenses against young men that you came across in your role as a priest.”

The victim suffered psychological harm as a result of what happened to him more than 40 years ago, it caused problems in his relationship and he had undergone counselling, the court was told.

The judge told Gibson: “You were obviously a highly valued member of society. He was a teenager and considered himself, in his words, nobody.”

An earlier independent review by church authorities into Gibson’s offending found that complaints about his behavior were dismissed as “drunkenness” at the time. He was found to have been arrogant about his senior position in the Church of England, the review found.

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