Diocese offers apologies to two victims
Statement issued by the Church of England Diocese of Chichester following the conviction today of Christopher Howarth:
“The Diocese is aware that Christopher Howarth was today (17 July) convicted at Hove Crown Court after a ten-day trial, of 26 offences, all committed in the Uckfield area. He was found not guilty of five offences
“Howarth was ordained in 1983 and has served since that time exclusively as a non-stipendiary priest in the Uckfield benefice of Holy Cross, Uckfield St Margaret’s, Isfield and St Michael’s, Little Horsted whilst also working full time as Deputy Principal of Uckfield Community Technology College.
“Howarth was suspended immediately the Diocese became aware of the allegations and he has been prohibited from exercising any kind of ministry ever since.
“Two young lives have been irrevocably damaged as a result of Howarth’s actions. He obviously betrayed the trust placed in him at many different levels across the community. The Diocese of Chichester offers Howarth’s two victims our deepest apology and we commend them for their bravery in coming forward and being willing to give evidence.
“The Diocese is aware that news of Howarth’s conviction and sentence will come as a great shock to many in Uckfield and we are working in conjunction with others to offer pastoral care and support to those more widely affected, still struggling to believe that this could happen within their midst.
“The Diocese now wishes to place on record its gratitude to the Sussex Police, Uckfield Community Technology College and other statutory authorities for the way they have been able to work together throughout the investigation.
“The Diocese continues to work to create a safe space for adults and children in all of its communities. At the same time we remember and pray for all victims of abuse, their families and friends.”