Cheshire priest Matthew Jolley jailed for child abuse plan

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Cheshire PoliceImage source, Cheshire Police
Image caption,
Matthew Jolley was jailed for more than three years

A priest has been jailed for attempting to meet a two-year-old boy he wanted to abuse, police have said.

Matthew Jolley, 32, admitted arranging or facilitating sexual activity with a child at Liverpool Crown Court and was jailed for more than three years.

Cheshire Police said Jolley was caught after he engaged in "sexualised" chats online with an undercover officer.

Liverpool Archdiocese said his crime had caused "deep shock and revulsion" within the Catholic community.

Jolley, of Rhona Drive, Great Sankey, Warrington, was also put on the sex offenders' register for life.

The former Widnes-based cleric communicated on a number of social media platforms about his sexual interest in young children, police said.

He arranged to meet a man he did not realise was an undercover officer.

'Abuse discussions'

He drove to meet the man in Hale on 26 September and during the meeting, Jolley again discussed how he planned to abuse the child, police said.

Jolley was subsequently arrested on suspicion of child sex offences.

Following sentencing, Det Con Louise Murphy, of Cheshire's On-line Child Abuse Investigation Team, said: "Jolley committed this terrible offence whilst holding a position of trust.

"Through his online communications it was clear to see that he was sexually attracted to young children and would do whatever he could in order to fulfil his own sexual gratification."

A Liverpool Archdiocese spokesman said: "It was with a deep sense of shock and revulsion that the Catholic community learned of the activities of Matthew Jolley.

"Pope Francis has referred to such acts as 'repellent crimes'."

Jolley's actions were an "insult to the many thousands of faithful Catholics and priests who daily live out the Gospel in the service of others", he said.

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