Retired priest charged with 29 sex offences

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A RETIRED Church of England priest has been charged with 29 sexual offences against three boys.

Robert Coles is alleged to have committed the acts from 1978 to 1984 in West Sussex, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and the Isle of Wight.

The 71-year-old, of Upperton Road, Eastbourne, was arrested on March 6 following a nine-month investigation and released on conditional bail.

Yesterday he was charged and released on bail.

He is due to appear at Chichester Magistrates’ Court on September 5.

Mr Coles is accused of 13 sexual assaults on a boy, then aged between 15 and 16, in Chichester, West Sussex, from 1982 to 1984.

There are eight alleged offences on another boy, then aged between 10 and 13, in Broadbridge Heath, West Sussex; Devon; Cornwall; and the Isle of Wight between 1978 and 1981.

And he is accused of eight further offences on a third boy, then aged between 10 and 13, in Broadbridge Heath; Somerset; and Devon between 1978 and 1982.

A 24-hour helpline manned by staff at the children’s charity NSPCC has been set up by the Diocese of Chichester on 0800 389 5344.