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A former vicar has been jailed today (Monday 21 December) for sex offences he committed against three victims in the 1980s, 2000s and 2010s.
John Roberts, 86, of Cherry Vale was convicted after a trial of nine counts of indecent and sexual assault on Friday (18 December) and remanded into custody ahead of his sentencing today.
He appeared in Liverpool Crown Court where he was jailed for nine years, and ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for life.
The victims came forward in 2018 to say that Roberts had abused them – one had been sexually assaulted as a boy in the 1980s by Roberts while he worked as a vicar in the Woolton area, one was a child in the early 2000s, and one was in adult in the 2010s.
Detective Chief Inspector Gayle Rooney said: “The three victims in this case have had to live with the pain and suffering Roberts inflicted on them for many years. They trusted Roberts in his position in the Church, and he abused that trust in the most despicable way.
“One of his victims sadly died after coming forward, and has not lived to see justice served.
“But while today’s result in court cannot undo the long-lasting impact of Roberts’ actions, I hope that the victims and their families can gain some closure and sense of justice from it.
“Their lives have been deeply affected by these crimes and they have all shown immense courage in coming forward. I would like to pay tribute to their dignity and bravery.
“I'd also like to thank officers and our partners in the Crown Prosecution Service for their efforts to convict and bring Roberts to justice after this abuse came to light in 2018.
"Time should never be a barrier to obtaining justice and Merseyside Police takes every report of sexual offences extremely seriously, whether or not they are recent.
“I am pleased to say that in recent years, awareness of sexual abuse, our recording and investigating of incidents and perhaps most importantly, our support for victims has improved hugely.
“We have dedicated officers who are trained to both thoroughly investigate sexual assault allegations and make sure that those reporting them are properly supported.
"I would like to take this opportunity to reassure and urge anyone who has suffered a sexual offence that if you can find the courage to come forward and speak to us, we will deal with you sensitively and make sure that reports are properly and thoroughly investigated."
If you want to report a sexual offence whether recent or not, please DM @MerPolCC or message us on Facebook at ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’. Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.