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Thursday, February 12, 1998 Published at 16:42 GMT


Sex charge priest found guilty
image: [ Father John Lloyd
Father John Lloyd "betrayed trust"

A senior Roman Catholic priest has been found guilty of indecently assaulting a 13-year-old girl shortly after baptising her into his church.

Father John Lloyd, 57, who was convicted at Cardiff Crown Court, had faced 20 other charges of child sex abuse, including rape.

The jury of eight women and four men convicted him on one indecency offence after considering verdicts for nearly 10 hours.

Wearing his black clerical suit and collar, Lloyd, a parish priest in south Wales for 32 years, stood pale but impassive as the guilty verdict was read out.

Judge Mr Justice Rougier remanded him in custody to await sentence next week but warned that a jail term was "virtually inevitable" given Lloyd's position as a clergyman.

The maximum sentence for the offence is two years.

The court was told that Lloyd took the girl back to his home after baptising her in his church but then indecently assaulted her before driving her back to her grandmother's house.

The girl, now an adult, was one of four women and two men who gave evidence that Lloyd indecently assaulted them when they were children.

Accusers watched from court gallery

Lloyd's six accusers were joined by relatives and friends in a tense and packed public gallery to hear the verdicts.

The priest categorically denied all the allegations and claimed that the thought of sexually abusing children had never entered his mind.

After the hearing, the Archbishop of Cardiff said Lloyd would no longer be allowed to practise as a priest.

Trust betrayed Archbishop Ward added: "My sympathy and that of the priests and people of the archdiocese goes out to all those who have suffered through his actions and to their families.

"My first concern is for them. The families have every right to expect a high standard of pastoral care from Father Lloyd and they justifably believe that their trust has been betrayed."

The prosecuting counsel in the case have yet to decide whether there will be a re-trial on the nine counts on which the jury could not agree a verdict.


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