Former priest sentenced for historic sexual assaults on boys
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A former priest has been sentenced to 10 years for historic sexual assaults on six boys following a trial at Lincoln Crown Court.
Terence Atkinson, 70, of Tetney Road, Humberston, was sentenced after being found guilty of nine counts of indecent assault, contrary to the Sexual Offences Act 1956. He was also given a sexual harm prevention order and placed on the sex offenders register for life.
Atkinson had originally pleaded not guilty to 13 counts but faced 10 offences after counts put to the jury were changed during the trial. He was found not guilty of one offence.
The offences were identified as part of Operation Redstone - our investigation set up in 2015 - which followed a detailed file review carried out by the Diocese and a desire to ensure truth and justice for all past victims of abuse.
Terence Atkinson held various positions within the Diocese of Lincoln. He was a Team Vicar at St Francis and St Peter Church between 1993 and 1998 and Curate in Charge at St Francis Church between 1998 and 2001. He was a youth worker at St Johns and St Stephens Church Centre, Grimsby, between 1972 and 1983. He was ordained as a priest in 1990 and retired from the role in 2013. The offences happened at Atkinson’s various home addresses between 1978 and 1999.
During police interviews Atkinson denied all the allegations put to him and pleaded not guilty to five offences of indecent assault at Lincoln Magistrates' Court on 24 September 2020. Following a press release which led to further victims coming forward, Atkinson was charged with eight more offences of indecent assault.
The court heard how boys would attend Atkinson’s address to do chores. He would measure them and offer them clothes and football kit to try on and keep. On other occasions he lifted boys up to check an electricity meter. During these times he would touch them inappropriately.
DC Melissa Ablett, Operation Redstone, said: “This case concludes our investigation following the review carried out by the Diocese of Lincoln.
"My thoughts are with those who have been affected by the actions of the individuals we have seen convicted. In this case, the actions of Terence Atkinson had a profound affect upon individuals and those closest to them.
"Those effects, sadly, are still being felt today. Without the strength of the people who have come forward we would not have seen these perpetrators face justice. They have shown strength and courage and I am very grateful for that.
“I also pass my thanks onto all the investigation team, and wider partnership who have had a strong desire to uncover what happened and put any offenders before the courts."
Prior to this conviction, Operation Redstone had resulted in three convictions for non-recent abuse of children and young people. All allegations of abuse are taken seriously by Lincolnshire Police, however long ago the abuse is reported to have taken place.
Operation Redstone saw an absolute multi-agency commitment to a transparent, survivor-focussed and diligent investigation of every matter raised with the team. It was overseen by strategic leads from the Lincolnshire Child Safeguarding Board, Children’s Services and Lincolnshire Police. The Bishop of Lincoln has given his full and active support. The previous cases are not reflective of current church practice and safeguarding policies within the church.
Anyone who wants to make contact with the Diocese can do so, in complete confidence, with the Safeguarding Advisor. Further information can be found at Lincoln Diocese safeguarding
Victim Lincs is a service where victims of crime can receive support regardless of whether they chose to report the crime to the police or not and regardless of when the crime took place. Please follow the link for further information Victim Lincs or call 01522 947510.