A PAEDOPHILE priest who preyed on young children is facing jail after pleading guilty to sexually abusing a boy almost four decades ago.
Shamed vicar Terry Knight yesterday admitted molesting the boy – aged just seven when the abuse began – while a priest at St Saviour’s Anglican Church, in Stamshaw, Portsmouth, between 1977 and 1981.
It is the third time the disgraced pensioner has been convicted for molesting a child while working at the church.
He was first jailed for three-and-a-half years in 1996 after admitting indecently assaulting seven boys aged between 11 and 14 between 1975 and 1985.
And in July last year, the 78-year-old admitted abusing a 12-year-old boy in the 1980s and was jailed for 21 months.
This conviction prompted another victim – who cannot be identified – to approach police and report the crime.
Wearing a blue coat, black jeans and a scarf, Knight, of New Road, Fratton, pleaded guilty on the opening day of his trial at Portsmouth Crown Court to one count of indecent assault.
Now, the sister of Knight’s victim has revealed how the nightmare traumatised her brother.
She said: ‘This man should have never have been allowed near children.
‘He abused his position of power and shaped my brother’s life and his behaviour. It’s been so distressing for me and my family to hear what my brother has been through.
‘I’m full of admiration for my brother and how strong he has been to be in the same room as that man again.’
She also hit out at the church for not acting when a parent reported the abuse of another child.
She added: ‘This was just swept under the carpet by the church. They allowed him into that position and to continue doing what he was doing.’
Ex-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.
Detective Angela Smith, of Fratton CID, said police took allegations of historic sexual abuse ‘extremely seriously’ and has urged other victims to come forward.
Speaking of yesterday’s conviction, she said: ‘It’s taken a lot of courage for the victim to speak about the abuse he faced as a boy.
‘I’m glad he (Knight) pleaded guilty. It means the victim can put this behind him and get on with his life.’
Knight will be sentenced on Friday at Portsmouth Crown Court.
WHAT THE CHURCH SAYS
CHURCHES in Portsmouth have tightened safeguarding measures for young people since the Terry Knight abuse scandal.
A diocesan spokesman said the church was ‘horrified’ to hear of the latest convictions against Knight, a former priest at Stamshaw’s St Saviours church, and commended the victim for his bravery in coming forward.
A church source added: ‘Safeguarding procedures in the Church and in society have been transformed over the decades since these assaults, and the safety of children and young people in our care is of paramount importance.
‘The former Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Timothy Bavin, apologised unreservedly last year for not acting more robustly in 1985 when Terry Knight confessed some inappropriate behaviour with boys - though not any actual physical contact.
‘His apology was to all survivors of abuse by Terry Knight, and he would certainly extend it to the survivor in this case.’