York & North Yorkshire

Methodist minister John Price 'hypnotised boys before sex attacks'

Pocklington Methodist Church Image copyright Google
Image caption John Price is accused of indecently assaulting two youths while he was at York Methodist Church and two while he was a minister in Pocklington, East Yorkshire

A Methodist minister used hypnosis on four boys before indecently assaulting them, a court has heard.

The Reverend John Price told his victims the hypnosis was to help them relax, before he carried out the abuse, Teesside Crown Court was told.

The defendant is accused of carrying out the attacks in the 1970s and 80s.

Mr Price, 82, of Ash Tree Close, Bedale, North Yorkshire, who is now retired, denies 14 counts of indecent assault on boys aged between 11 and 17.

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He is accused of indecently assaulting two youths while he was at York Methodist Church and two while he was a minister in Pocklington, East Yorkshire.

Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, told the jury all four of the alleged victims "make strikingly similar allegations against the defendant".

"The defendant attempted, so he said, to hypnotise them, he said to help them relax, and then he proceeded to abuse them sexually," he said.

'Shocked, frozen, appalled'

The court was told he sometimes used a blanket, or cloak, as part of his technique, while telling one boy to hold a 50p piece until he dropped it, believing then his victim was in a trance.

Mr Newcombe said on one occasion the defendant groped one boy in a vestry while hypnotising him to help with his "nerves".

He offered to hypnotise another boy to help him cope with stress, touching his body, he said.

Another is alleged to have been assaulted at Mr Price's house when his wife and daughter were out.

After being hypnotised and molested, the youth said he felt "shocked, frozen, appalled and at a loss as to know what to do", the court was told.

A fourth boy was abused after being made to lie naked on a bed, the prosecutor said.

"No doubt the defendant was convinced that he was able to hypnotise these lads, [but] it seems that all the boys feigned a trance as a coping mechanism," Mr Newcombe added.

The trial continues.

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