Former Chaplain to the Queen jailed after indecent assault on 17-year-old girl

Stephen Palmer has been sentenced for three years and three months.
Stephen Palmer has been sentenced for three years and three months.
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A FORMER chaplain to the Queen who indecently assaulted a 17-year-old girl when she went to him for tuition has been jailed for three years and three months.

Canon Stephen Palmer, 68, abused the girl when he was assistant curate at Holy Rood, Stubbington in the mid-1970s.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard Palmer assaulted the girl at his home and study on multiple occasions between 1975 and 1976.

On the last occasion he assaulted her he pushed the girl against the stairs of his home and she thought she would be raped, the court heard.

Recorder Nigel Lickley QC told the court: ‘Every time he said there’s nothing you can do about it, no-one will believe you.’

Reading the victim’s personal statement prosecutor Tammy Mears said: ‘What happened to me all those years ago affected me greatly and continues to do so.’

She added her abuse at the hands of Palmer made her leave the church and she felt she could not return.

The court heard that over the years the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, found it difficult to attend church events with her own children.

Reading the statement, Ms Mears added: ‘Stephen Palmer was an adult, he was in a position of trust, I was a young girl who thought he was going to help me.’

Addressing Palmer, Recorder Nigel Lickley QC said: ‘You have shown or expressed little remorse.

‘You accept the jury’s verdict but that’s as far as it goes.’

Palmer, who has no previous convictions, was assistant curate at the church between 1974 and 1977

Palmer, now of Fintry Schoolhouse, Fintry, Aberdeen, was convicted of six counts of indecent assault between 1975 and 1976.

He is a former vicar of Christ Church, Portsdown, in the Diocese of Portsmouth.

He served eight years in the navy. Palmer was then assistant curate at Holy Rood, Stubbington, between 1974 and 1977, and chaplain to the Bishop of Portsmouth for another three years.

He then moved to the Isle of Wight and was rector of Brightstone, Brook and Mottistone between 1980 and 1991, and rural dean of West Wight for five years.

Pierce Power, defending, said Palmer faced humiliation from the conviction, adding: ‘For him that’s perhaps the worst punishment that his standing within the community, his high standard, high regard, is now gone.’

A spokesman for the Diocese of Portsmouth said: ‘We were distressed to hear that a former vicar from this diocese, the Rev Stephen Palmer, had been convicted on charges of indecent assault.

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim, who has had to live with the consequences of these assaults for many years.

‘Since the 1970s, safeguarding procedures and policies have been transformed in the Church of England, as well as in society generally. The safety of the children and young people in our care is paramount.

‘Each of our parishes is required to follow detailed safeguarding policies to ensure that our children and young people are kept safe.’