A CLERGYMAN has been charged with historic sex offences, The Northern Echo has learned.

Former Archdeacon of Auckland, George Granville Gibson, is facing two charges of indecent assault on a boy under the age of 14 and three counts of indecent assault on a man.

The retired 82-year-old, from Darlington, is accused of carrying out the offences in the 1970s and 80s, when he occupied various roles around the region within the Anglican church.

The offences, which relate to three victims - a boy and two men, are alleged to have taken place in Newton Aycliffe and London.

Police said Mr Gibson was interviewed as a voluntary attender, rather than being arrested.

He is due to appear at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, November 8

Born in the old West Riding of Yorkshire, Mr Gibson worked in mining engineering for ten years before becoming a trainer of youth leaders for the Boys’ Brigade.

He turned to the cloth as a mature student in 1969 and took up his first church post as an assistant curate in North Tyneside before becoming team vicar in Cramlington in 1973.

Mr Gibson was later vicar at St Clare’s Church in Newton Aycliffe and served the town until 1985, afterwards becoming Rector of Sunderland Minster and Rural Dean of Wearmouth.

In 1993, he was appointed Archdeacon of Auckland, overseeing deaneries of Stanhope, Auckland, Barnard Castle, Darlington and Stockton until he retired in 2001.

As such, he was addressed as the Venerable George Gibson and was also asked to sit on the General Synod – the church ‘parliament’.

Among many other roles, the father-of-four also acted as a church commissioner, trustee for the Church Urban Fund and as a school governor.

He was briefly brought out of retirement to act as interim priest at St James the Great Church in Darlington following the departure of the previous priest and some of the congregation in 2012.