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Friday, April 30, 1999 Published at 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK


Vicar faces jail over indecent assault

A retired vicar who pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting three 11-year-old girls has been told he faces a jail term at the Old Bailey.

The Rev Guy Bennett, 66, who resigned from St Mary's parish church, Oxted, Surrey, earlier this year, admitted indecently assaulting the girls between 1976 and 1988.

But on Friday he denied four further offences. One of them dated from last year, but the prosecution said it would not be in the public interest to proceed and they were left to lie on file.

He was remanded on conditional bail until 28 May, when he will be sentenced.

Judge Giles Forrester said: "You are facing a custodial sentence. Do not be under any kind of illusion as to the gravity of your position."

Bennett was also told he must sign on the Sex Offenders Register.

He was living in the Oxted vicarage when he was charged, and a Church of England spokesman confirmed Bennett was suspended from St Mary's in September when the police inquiry was launched.

He had been rector there since 1972 and also taught religious education part-time at a local school.

After studying at Oxford University and Wells Theological College, one of his first jobs was as chaplain in Butlin's holiday camp at Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, in 1963.

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