Priest faces jail for sexually abusing teen boy at children’s home

Father Anthony McSweeney arrives at Southwark Crown Court, London, where he faces charges of sexual assault, gross indecency and taking indecent photographs of children following an investigation into abuse alleged to have taken place at Grafton Close Children's Home in Hounslow, west London, in the 1970s and 80s. SUS-150224-153352001
Father Anthony McSweeney arrives at Southwark Crown Court, London, where he faces charges of sexual assault, gross indecency and taking indecent photographs of children following an investigation into abuse alleged to have taken place at Grafton Close Children's Home in Hounslow, west London, in the 1970s and 80s. SUS-150224-153352001

A Catholic priest is facing jail after he was found guilty of sexually abusing a teenage boy at a children’s home.

Father Anthony McSweeney, 68, preyed on the vulnerable youngster while working at the home in West London.

McSweeney was also found guilty of making indecent images of children.

He preyed on the boy with his close friend John Stingemore, 72, who managed the care home and was found dead in January - weeks before his trial.

McSweeney, from Pease Pottage, stared straight ahead as the jury of six men and five women returned their verdicts at London’s Southwark Crown Court On Friday (March 6). He was cleared of three indecent assaults on two other boys at the care home and taking a pornographic photo of one of these boys.

The priest was once enlisted by TV cook Delia Smith to hold a special football service at Norwich City.

And he officiated at the 1990 wedding of boxing star Frank Bruno and his now ex wife Laura.

Jurors heard the priest watched children shower and collected child porn.

McSweeney confessed to watching a child porn film featuring boys as young as ten.

He denied molesting boys as they sat on his lap – claiming he was too fat to fit a teen on him.

In 1998 McSweeney nearly lost his career when his cleaner discovered his stash of sex toys, truncheons and pornographic videos at St Peter’s Catholic Church in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex.

He was originally threatened that he would be “banished” from the priesthood, but after around six months was moved to a new parish, St George’s, in Norwich.

McSweeney, of Old Brighton Road, Pease Pottage, was found guilty of one indecent assault on a male between 1979 and 1981.

And he was found guilty of three counts of making indecent images of children.

He was released on bail and sentence was adjourned until March 27.

Judge Alistair McCreath warned McSweeney that he faces prison.

The judge said: “You are not to come to court in four weeks thinking to yourself that the judge gave me bail and therefore I’m not to go to prison, because that would be a false hope.”