York & North Yorkshire

Methodist minister John Price found guilty of abusing boys under hypnosis

John Price Image copyright PA
Image caption John Price has been convicted of indecently assaulting two boys at York Methodist Church and two when he was a minister in Pocklington, East Yorkshire

A retired Methodist minister has been found guilty of indecently assaulting four boys he had tried to hypnotise.

John Price, 82, from North Yorkshire, tried to put the boys into a trance before molesting them when he worked in York and Pocklington, East Yorkshire.

He denied all 13 counts of indecent assault on the boys, then aged between 11 and 17, from the 1970s and 80s.

Price, of Ash Tree Close, Bedale, is due to be sentenced at Teesside Crown Court on 13 June.

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Judge Howard Crowson remanded him in custody and said prison was "inevitable" but he first wanted to learn more about the state of Price's health.

He said the medical evidence would only affect the length of the term, if it did at all.

The once-respected church leader was convicted of a similar offence in 1999 and was prevented from using his title of reverend.

The trial heard he attacked two youths while he was at York Methodist Church, and the other two while he was a minister in Pocklington.

Jurors were told the children were offered hypnosis to help with stress and pain before being assaulted.

Price 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.

The victims said they were not hypnotised but immobilized with shock at the minister's actions, the jury heard.

One of the boys was told not to be "silly" and the matter was brushed aside when he complained to a senior church figure, who has since died.

Price told the jury he had done nothing to be ashamed of and had said he did not know how to hypnotise anybody.

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