Church leaders express sorrow after former Chichester priest is convicted of sex crimes

Church leaders have a 'deep sense of sorrow' over the sex crimes of a convicted 81-year-old priest.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 6:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 6:50 pm
Vicar Meirion Griffiths, 81, was extradited from Australia to stand trial accused of sex offences at Portsmouth Crown Court.......Picture: (130120-3904)

The Diocese of Chichester yesterday said Meirion Griffiths’ crimes were a ‘great betrayal’.

As reported, the pensioner was convicted on Monday at Portsmouth Crown Court of four charges of indecent assault and cleared of two others.

He abused Professor Julie MacFarlane, 61, when she was 17, and another woman in her 20s between the 1970s and 1980s.

A diocese spokeswoman said: "(The) outcome will offer some sense of justice and resolution to the victims, who have shown great courage in coming forward.

"The Diocese of Chichester wishes to put on record our deep sense of sorrow regarding Mr Griffiths’ crimes, and our admiration for the courage of the victims.

"The sexual abuse of children is a great betrayal. Where it has happened, it must be brought into the light so that justice can be done.

"The diocese has been working closely with Sussex Police throughout this investigation and is committed to work with our statutory partners to build on the progress we have made in safeguarding in recent years.

"We ask that anyone who has suffered abuse to make contact with Sussex Police."

Griffiths, whose last address was given in Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth, was remanded in custody to be sentenced on a date yet to be fixed.

He was extradited from Australia to face justice in Britain and was convicted at a re-trial.