A RETIRED Church of England priest has been charged with committing 38 historic sex attacks on children.
Gordon Rideout, 73, is accused of abusing 18 girls and boys in Hampshire, West Sussex and Essex.
The charges follow a nine-month inquiry by Sussex Police detectives into allegations of the sexual abuse of young people in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Thirty-six of the 38 alleged offences are of indecent assault on girls and boys in their early teens.
A total of 31 are alleged to have been committed at an address in Crawley and one in Barkingside, Essex, between 1962 and 1968.
Four indecent assaults are alleged to have taken place at a property in Middle Wallop, Hampshire, between 1971 an 1973.
The other two allegations are of attempted unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl in Crawley between 1962 and 1966.
Rideout was arrested on March 6 but released on conditional bail pending further inquires.
He was charged yesterday following more police interviews after answering bail.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: ‘The charges, authorised by the South East Complex Case Unit of the Crown Prosecution Service, follow a nine-month enquiry by Sussex Police detectives into allegations of sex abuse of young people in the 1960s and early 1970s.
‘None of the charges relate to any allegations of recent or current offending and police emphasise that there is nothing to suggest that any children are currently at risk.’
Rideout, of Filching Close, Wannock, Polegate, East Sussex, was released on conditional bail.
He is due to appear at Mid Sussex Magistrates’ Court on July 16.
A 24-hour helpline manned by NSPCC staff can be reached on 0800 389 5344.