Jailed priest banned for life from preaching

Gordon Rideout
Gordon Rideout

A former Crawley priest jailed for abusing children has been banned from preaching for the rest of his life.

Gordon Rideout, 74, who was assistant curate at St Mary’s Church, Southgate, in the 1960s, was jailed in May 2013.

He had been found guilty of 36 sexual offences against 16 young girls and boys and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The Diocese of Chichester has confirmed Rideout had been prohibited for life from exercising any functions of ordained ministry within the Church of England.

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner said: “A sentence of prohibition for life is the most severe sanction that can be imposed under the clergy discipline measure and is a further indication of the gravity of the offences committed.”

The same punish was meted out to former priest Robert Coles, 72, who was jailed for eight years last February for sex offences against young boys.

Dr Warner added: “Whilst neither of the clergy in question has been permitted to function as clergy in the Diocese of Chichester since their respective arrests, the imposition of these sentences now concludes the church’s disciplinary processes.

“I hope this announcement is of some comfort to the survivors of abuse, both within the Diocese of Chichester and more widely.”

The preaching bans have been made under section 30 of the clergy discipline measure 2003.

Dr Warner said: “Disciplinary action in relation to other persons subject to recent criminal proceedings remains ongoing and further announcements will be made in due course.”

The pair’s offences are not connected.