Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Ex-canon jailed for abusing boys

Ronald Johns has been sentenced to four years in prison after grooming and then sexually abusing teenage boys while he was a vicar

An ex-canon at Carlisle Cathedral has been jailed for four years after sexually abusing three teenage boys.

Ronald Johns, 75, was demoted to a village parish nearly 20 years ago by his bishop instead of police being informed of allegations made by his first victim.

The victim made an official complaint to the church in 1993 when, by then, Johns was a canon at Carlisle Cathedral.

Johns made admissions to the late Right Rev Ian Harland who felt the appropriate sanction was to move him to a church in Caldbeck.

The matter only came to the attention of police this year when another victim complained he had also been abused by Johns, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Police checked records at the cathedral which detailed the 1993 complaint dealt with by the Right Rev Harland, who died three years ago.

Johns, of Kings Road, Coltishall, Norwich, pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to sexual offences committed against three boys - aged between 14 and 17 at the time - between 1983 and 1991.

Sentencing him, Mr Justice Singh said: "As you accept, you have ruined your life and brought disgrace upon yourself."

He said his pre-sentence report had summarised his behaviour as "manipulative" and "predatory".

The current Bishop of Carlisle, the Right Rev James Newcome, said: "We unreservedly condemn this and any abuse. Jesus made it clear that those who are most vulnerable should be most precious, and hence safest with the Church. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families."

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