Shropshire

Telford vicar convicted of indecently assaulting teenage girl

A vicar who kissed a girl and said he could rape her if he wanted has been convicted of indecently assaulting her.

The Reverend Keven McGarahan, 64 and now retired, attacked the girl at his home in Telford, Shropshire in 1995.

The girl's mother complained to the church he was based in 1998, but no action was taken until a review by the Church of England in 2014.

McGarahan, known as "Rev Kev", was bailed and is due to be sentenced at Shrewsbury Crown Court on 3 June.

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Jurors were told the 15-year-old girl went to his home to see an American exchange student, but by the time she arrived he had left.

Victim 'froze'

The girl said McGarahan started asking her about her experience with boys and offered to teach her how to dance, but as he held her hips he began to kiss her, forcing his tongue into her mouth.

He made the rape comment in a way that sounded as if he was joking, and also told her nobody would know, she said.

The girl said she "froze" and tried to escape before running home and locking herself in the bathroom and brushing her teeth in tears.

The girl subsequently told her mother who lodge a complaint at his church - but no further action was taken and police were not involved.

The information sat on McGarahan's file until the Diocese of Hereford, which covers Telford, began looking into safeguarding files in 2014 and found her original statement.

'Need to be scrupulous'

The case was then reopened.

In a statement, the Diocese of Hereford said all those involved in the case asked for no action to be taken, other than speaking to McGarahan.

The defendant left the Hereford diocese in 1996 and officials referred the information to his then employers.

The Bishop Of Hereford Richard Frith, said: "A case like this is reminder of our need to be scrupulous in our safeguarding and we intend always to be that scrupulous."

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