Lincolnshire

Norfolk Police criticised over Stephen Crabtree sex abuse

Stephen Crabtree Image copyright Lincolnshire Police
Image caption Stephen Crabtree's actions had a "profound effect" on his victim, said police

A former Bishop of Grimsby has said he is "disappointed" with police for not investigating a clergyman for child sex abuse 16 years ago.

Stephen Crabtree, 59, was jailed on Thursday for abusing a 15-year-old girl in Lincolnshire between 1992 and 1993.

The Rt Rev David Rossdale said the matter was reported to Norfolk Police in 2000 but no action was taken.

The force said "no formal complaint was ever made to us and therefore would not be recorded".

Former Church of England minister Crabtree, from Bradford, was jailed for three years at Lincoln Crown Court after admitting six counts of indecent assault, which took place in the East Lindsey district area.

'Didn't go anywhere'

Mr Rossdale said he encouraged the victim to report the abuse after he was made aware of it.

"She went to Norfolk Police... and was advised it was her word against his... and she didn't wish to pursue the matter further."

He said he had "regretted" her decision but did everything he could under the clergy discipline measures at the time.

"I'm profoundly disappointed with Norfolk Police," said Mr Rossdale.

"We wanted the police to take it forward, we got her to go to the police, it didn't go anywhere. So it was quite difficult for us to know which way to go.

"I was surprised by Norfolk's response, I felt that didn't help. Had they been more supportive of the victim, all this would have been dealt with a while ago."

A spokeswoman for Norfolk Police said: "In the absence of details as to who the victim spoke with at the time, we are unable to comment further on this matter."

The force added it took "reports of such activity extremely seriously and will do all we can to bring those responsible to justice".

Crabtree was sentenced after the Diocese of Lincoln carried out a review of past safeguarding cases and had passed its findings to Lincolnshire Police.

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