LONDON (AP) — A retired Church of England priest was jailed for 10 years Monday after a jury found him guilty of 36 separate sex offenses against children in the 1960s and 1970s.
Prosecutors said Gordon Rideout, 74, abused his position of trust and assaulted children he met over the years. A jury found him guilty of 34 counts of indecent assault and two counts of attempted rape on 16 boys and girls in the southeastern English counties of Hampshire and Sussex between 1962 and 1973.
Most of the 36 offenses related to his work as an assistant curate at St. Mary's Church in Crawley, 28 miles (45 kms) south of London, when he would visit a children's home nearby. The home has since closed.
"A number of his victims attempted to speak out about what Rideout was doing, but tragically at the time of the offenses, a child's word was not believed," said Nigel Pilkington, a regional official of the Crown Prosecution Service.
"Those who were brave enough to say anything were subjected to brutal beatings. Some of his victims told police in interviews that it simply 'wasn't worth complaining' because of the punishment they would receive in return," he said.
Rideout was arrested in March 2012 and charged five months later. He denied all the charges.
He was cleared of one count of indecent assault on a boy.
Another retired Church of England priest who worked in the same area, 71-year-old Robert Coles, was jailed for eight years in February for sex offenses against young boys. His offenses were not linked to Rideout's.