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Man speaks of priest child abuse

29 July 08 13:14 GMT

A man who was the victim of sexual abuse by a Church of England priest when he was a boy said it has scarred his life.

He spoke out after Collin Pritchard, of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, admitted seven sex offences against children, in Northamptonshire in the 1970s and 80s.

Pritchard was jailed for five years at Northampton Crown Court on Monday.

Following sentencing, the victim told

BBC Look East: "I have lost faith - he said he was a man of God."

The offences took place while 64-year-old Pritchard was parish priest at St Andrew's Church in Wellingborough.

The victim said that when the abuse began, he did not understand what was happening: "These men befriend your family, they become good friends with your parents, they come round for dinners.

"They are controlling your parents as much as they are controlling you. They take away any kind of power that you have."

He said he hoped the case would help other victims of abuse to come forward.

Case review

"I think it's important people see what happened in court and they know they can be treated sensitively and they can get a result and go some way to getting some justice for what happened to them."

As he sentenced Pritchard, Judge Christopher Metcalf told him: "It was the most appalling breach of trust.

"You took advantage of young boys who wanted to involve themselves in your church."

Grooming had started with kissing and fondling and developed to them sharing a bed together, the court heard.

The court heard the priest had carried out six of his offences against one boy.

In a statement, the Peterborough and Chichester Dioceses said Pritchard's crimes were a "betrayal of the standards expected of the clergy".

"We offer our sympathy to the victims of the crimes and their families," they said.

"A full review of this case will be undertaken, as part of the current review of historic reports of abuse that has been commissioned in each diocese by the House of Bishops, and carried out by independent reviewers."

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