UPDATE: Priest denies child sex charges

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A Church of England priest charged with historic sex offences against a girl has appeared in court.

Derek Spencer, 50, of Downview Road, Worthing, appeared at Crawley Magistrates’ Court today (Wednesday 20 December) charged with three counts of inciting a girl under the age of 16 to commit an act of gross indecency at a school in Essex.

Police said Spencer, who was vicar of Thakeham and Sullington at the time of his arrest in May 2017, pleaded not guilty and has been bailed to appear at Lewes Crown Court on January 17.

The prosecution follows an investigation by the Sussex Police Complex Abuse Unit.

The investigation has no connection with the school, officers added.