A RETIRED priest and a former church organist have been found
guilty of child sex-abuse offences, committed between 1987 and
On Friday of last week, the Revd Keith Wilkie Denford, aged 77,
from Shoreham, who was the Vicar of St John's, Burgess Hill, West
Sussex, from 1985 to 1990, was found guilty on three charges of
indecently assaulting two boys. Michael Mytton, aged 68, an
organist from East Chiltington, who worked with Mr Denford, was
also found guilty on three charges.
The judge at Hove Crown Court said that the pair, charged in May
(News, 11 May), had committed "a grave breach of trust". Both were
released on bail, and will be sentenced on 2 May.
The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, said: "The diocese
fully acknowledges the suffering caused both to survivors of abuse
and their families. We deeply regret the betrayal of trust in the
context of public pastoral ministry, and we extend our prayers and
support to those caught up in the events highlighted by this case.
. . Our safeguarding procedures have been revised and updated, and
I am committed to ensuring that every person is safe in our church
On Tuesday, a judge at Sheffield Crown Court jailed the Revd
John Yallop, aged 65, for three years. Mr Yallop, who was Vicar of
St Peter's, Ellesmere, from 1986 to 1988, pleaded guilty to six
counts of indecent assault committed against a 16-year-old girl,
who first made a complaint in 1987.
The court heard that Mr Yallop remembered a meeting with the
then Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd David Lunn, about a complaint
that had been made, and that the Bishop had advised Mr Yallop to
resign. The police were not informed. Mr Yallop left St Peter's in
The victim was referred to Mr Yallop for bereavement counselling
in 1987. The court heard that she had made a formal complaint after
seeing a newspaper article last year indicating that Mr Yallop was
considering fostering children.
Bishop Lunn, who was Bishop of Sheffield from 1980 until his
retirement in 1997, told the Yorkshire Post on Tuesday:
"The tale told in court was utterly different to what I was told. .
. I was told the man in question had an inappropriate relationship
with a member of his congregation. I saw him, and told him that
this was unacceptable, and advised him to leave the ministry, which
he did. I was not made aware that it was a girl, and there was no
sweeping under the carpet."
On Wednesday, the Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Steven Croft, issued
an "immediate and full apology to the victim". He agreed with the
judge that the matter was "not handled well" by the Church in 1987,
and said "I deeply regret any additional distress this has caused
over many years."
The trial of Canon Gordon Rideout, aged 74, a retired priest
from Eastbourne and a former Chaplain to the Forces, began at Lewes
Crown Court on Tuesday. He is charged with 35 counts of indecent
assault on 17 children, and two counts of attempted rape between
1962 and 1973. The offences are alleged to have taken place at two
Barnardo's homes for children - at Ifield, near Crawley; and at
Barkingside, Essex - and at the army base at Middle Wallop,