A former member of the clergy was imprisoned over 40 years ago for sexual abuse of a boy.

Gordon Dickenson of Crewe, who had previously been found guilty of having eight cases of sexual activity with a child, was sentenced today (Friday, March 15) to a total of 27 months in prison during a hearing at the Liverpool Crown Court.

The case dates back to 1974. The 89-year-old had sacrificed his young victim as a teenager. At the time, Dickenson worked as a reverend within the Church of England in Latchford Township near Warrington.

Detective Inspector Nigel Reid, who was responsible for the investigation, said, "Dickenson plundered his young victim's vulnerability to his own sexual gratification, which betrayed a child's trust.

"He has committed these terrible offenses in trust. Only through the strength and courage of the victim, who had to live with what had happened to him for years, did the abuse come to light and Dickenson was held accountable for his actions.

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"Today Dickenson was sentenced to imprisonment. This reinforces how seriously police and courts take incidents of this nature. It also sends a clear signal that anyone who commits crimes against children is not above the law, and that he is being tried and sentenced to imprisonment, no matter how long this abuse took place long ago. "

The case came to light in 2017 after Cheshire police released a report on the findings of an investigation into alleged cases of sexual abuse against a former Bishop of Chester.

Operation Coverage focused on allegations against the late Bishop Hubert Victor Whitsey of the 70s and 80s.

The late right-hand Reverend Hubert Victor Whitsey, who was Bishop of Chester from 1974 to 1981
The late right-hand Reverend Hubert Victor Whitsey, who was Bishop of Chester from 1974 to 1981

As soon as the report was published, information was relayed to the police on the back, triggering an investigation of the force.

In June 2018 Dickenson, who lives in Crewe, was interviewed with caution and later brought to justice for the eight offenses.

DI Reid added, "This case became known through the Operation Coverage. Without the publication of this report and the subsequent information that was passed to us, Dickenson may never have been identified and then brought to justice for the terrible abuse he had victimized his victim.

"This was a difficult and lengthy police investigation, but it does contain an important message. If you are a victim of abuse, it does not matter how long ago it is, it's about finding the courage to talk about it. It is important that the voice of the victim be heard, and this case highlights the fact that people who commit crimes against children are not above the law.

"I want to personally thank the victim for his strength, understanding and support during the investigation. I hope the conclusion in this case will bring some understanding and closure to the extremely emotional and traumatic time, and give courage to others who may have suffered quietly. "

Martin McRobb, a prosecutor for sex crimes at the Mersey Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said, "The Crown Prosecution Service has worked closely with Cheshire police investigators in this difficult and sensitive case.

"It is a sad reality that sex offenders, especially those who are against children, can be found in all walks of life. However, it is very disturbing to discover that someone who has been so respected in his life as a local pastor could have committed sexual abuse of a small boy in his ward.

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"The message to such offenders is that no profession or public service position will ever provide a safe haven for criminal behavior. Whoever you are and whatever you do when offended, you will be brought to justice.

"The prosecution wants to pay tribute to the great courage displayed by the victim in this case. He has suffered his life through the mental scars of Gordon Dickenson's appalling behavior. Without his support and support, justice would not have been possible in this case. "

If you have been the victim of sexual abuse – no matter how long ago – or have information about sexual offenses, you can contact the Cheshire Police at 101. Information may also be disclosed anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.