A DISGRACED priest has been jailed after being told by a judge his abuse of boys was a ‘gross breach of trust’.
Terry Knight, 77, appeared for sentencing at Portsmouth Crown Court after being found guilty during an earlier trial of indecently assaulting a 12-year-old boy.
It is the second time Knight has been convicted for offences in the 1980s at St Saviour’s Anglican Church in Stamshaw, Portsmouth.
Knight was jailed for three-and-a-half years in 1996 after admitting abusing seven boys aged between 11 and 14 between 1975 and 1985.
Another victim recently came forward, prompting a trial after Knight pleaded not guilty to the offences.
A jury found Knight, of Kingfishers, Shipton Bellinger, Tidworth, guilty of three out of four indecent assault charges but acquitted him of one.
Knight appeared in court wearing a blue jacket and did not speak during the hearing.
Sentencing Knight to 21 months, Judge Ian Pearson told him: ‘What you did was serious. You groomed him extensively and used your status and powers as a parish priest to carry out these sexual assaults on him.
‘He was allowed to stay at your house and you repeatedly abused him in your bedroom and bathroom.
‘There’s no grosser breach of trust. Your actions upon him have blighted his life.
‘He has suffered significantly. It’s only decades later he has got justice.’
Sarah Jones, defending, asked the judge to suspend the sentence.
She said Knight had been through a lengthy rehabilitation programme and constantly wears ‘a hat of shame’.
She said: ‘He has aged dramatically. The man he is now is very much an older and diminished man.’
But Judge Pearson said Knight had the opportunity to admit all his wrongdoing in 1996.
He said: ‘If I were to suspend this sentence, that would not do justice to the victim in this case.’
He said only prison could reflect the ‘gravity’ of the offence. Knight was ordered to pay £3,500 costs to the crown.
As revealed by The News last month, Church of England leaders have since apologised for not sacking Knight in 1985 when mothers of child victims made complaints.
Knight confessed to inappropriate behaviour, but did not tell clergy of the physical contact.
Former Bishop of Portsmouth Timothy Bavin, who was asked to speak to Knight, apologised for not reporting Knight’s confession to police and treating it as a ‘pastoral’ issue rather than criminal.