An elderly vicar who sexually abused a young boy more than 40 years ago has been put behind bars for 27 months.
Charles Gordon Dickenson, now 89, repeatedly abused the child and shockingly the Church of England twice covered up his crimes - and even promoted him.
He assaulted his victim in his vicarage, church hall and even the sacristy where he kept his religious robes.
Jailing him today a judge pointed out that “the long arm of the law” had finally caught up with him.
Dickenson, known as Gordon, preyed on the boy, who attended Christ Church in Latchford, Cheshire, and forced him to keep their "dirty secret" for four decades.
A court heard the Church of England was twice alerted to his behaviour but failed to act on the information.
Dickenson was even promoted to a more senior position within the church at another parish when a female organist reported seeing him hugging the boy.
He was finally caught when officers interviewed the victim in 2017 while investigating sexual abuse allegations against the former Bishop of Chester, Victor Whitsey.
Judge Steven Everett, sitting at Liverpool Crown Court, today (Fri) told Dickenson, who was using a wheeled walker, “You did a terrible thing. You were the priest at a parish church in Cheshire.
“You were in your early 40s and at that time the child was not even a teenager, he was crossing into his teens and for your perverted desires you took advantage of that little boy.
“I have little doubt that when you did it you thought you could do whatever you wanted and nobody would stop you because nobody would believe this if he ever said anything.”
Referring to the first incident in the boiler room of the church hall, Judge Everett said that “it beggars belief that someone who was calling himself a man of God should do these terrible things….Emboldened by that act you astonishingly sexually assaulted him i the vicarage at Latchford where you were the priest.”
The next incident took place in the sacristy after he deliberately sought him out and abused him there. “The fact is you were a man of God and this took place in a church.”
Judge Everett said that he had taken vows to “teach the gospel and be a role model to your flock. You were not a role model at all.”
He said that the offences took place on four separate occasions and the victim impact statement showed the “huge” affect the abuse had had on the victim. He told the victim, who was present in court, that he had no reason to be ashamed as it was Dickenson who should be ashamed.
He pointed out that in a pre-sentence report on Dickenson he had not detected much remorse and it was a “matter of huge regret” that he had not been stopped and brought to justice earlier but he had instead moved and promoted.
Judge Everett ordered Dickenson to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.
Dickenson, of Kingway, Crewe, admitted eight counts of sexual assault between July 1973 and November 1974.
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Dickenson’s arrogance in believing he would get away with this awful abuse was bolstered by the Diocese of Chester’s failure to act.
“While this apology is important, it’s vital that lessons are learned. Child abuse can ruin lives and it is so important that when survivors bravely come forward, they know they will be listened to and action taken against the perpetrators.
“We hope that the victim identified in this case is given every support to heal, and that the justice he has finally received sends a message to others that they can come forward, and they will be listened to.”
For help and support children can contact ChildLine 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0800 1111 or by visiting www.childline.org.uk.
Adults with concerns about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline in confidence on 0800 808 5000 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.