Sussex

Former priest Jonathan Graves guilty of sex abuse attacks

Jonathan Graves leaving court - 14/9/17
Image caption Jonathan Graves was released on bail and will be sentenced on Monday

A former Church of England priest has been found guilty of torturing and sexually abusing two schoolboys in the 1980s and 90s.

Jonathan Graves, 60, of Eastbourne, East Sussex, restrained the children, who were aged between 12 and 14, using belts and straps, and then beat them.

At the time, he was the vicar at St Luke's Church in Stone Cross.

He was convicted at Hove Crown Court of 12 offences between 1987 and 1992 and will be sentenced on Monday.

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Graves, of Jervis Avenue, was cleared of five similar charges, including one offence of indecent assault on a 50-year-old woman in 2002, following a nine-day trial.

The court heard how he groomed the boys, plied them with alcohol and tricked them into playing sadistic forfeit games.

Image caption Jonathan Graves was the vicar at St Luke's Church in Stone Cross at the time of the attacks

Graves was first arrested by police in 2005 following a single complaint.

He was temporarily suspended from working in Sussex churches three years later.

Det Insp Jon Gross, of the Sussex Police Public Protection Command, said the past had "caught up" with Graves.

"The evidence in this case has revealed how he used his position to select his victims and befriend them before callously abusing them for his own sexual gratification.

"His crimes have had a lasting impact upon those he abused.

"The hurt caused by the sexual abuse itself has undoubtedly been compounded by the psychological scars of the abuser being a trusted and influential figure in each of the victims' lives."

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