Berkshire

Reading vicar jailed for abusing two teenage girls

St Michael's Church in Spencers Wood Image copyright Google
Image caption Jarvis has been suspended from his duties at St Michael's Church in Spencers Wood

A vicar from Reading has been jailed for 15 months after he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two teenage girls.

The Reverend Peter Jarvis, 51, of Spencer's Wood, admitted two counts of causing or inciting a girl aged between 13 and 17 to engage in sexual activity.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing an indecent image of a child when he appeared at Winchester Crown Court.

The Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Andrew Proud, said it was a matter of "sorrow and regret" for the church.

'Great courage'

Chief crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Adrian Foster said Jarvis, who committed the offences between 2008 and 2012, had "abused his position of trust".

"Despite his pastoral responsibility towards them, he had an inappropriate sexual interest in them, encouraged them to participate in sexual acts with others while underage, met them after school and at weekends, allowed them to smoke and bought them gifts.

"It is only due to the great courage of the victims that the despicable behaviour of this man has been exposed," he added.

Bishop Proud said Jarvis has been suspended from his duties at St Michael's Church in Spencers Wood, Reading, and a disciplinary process had started.

"We recognise that the suffering of survivors of sexual abuse is profound and long lasting.

"The Church of England will not tolerate abusive behaviour in its clergy or anyone else for whom we have pastoral responsibility.

"All those involved in this sad case remain in my thoughts and prayers," he added.

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