A disgraced former senior Anglican clergyman in the North-East has been locked up for the third time in six years after his latest conviction for indecent assault.

The retired Archdeacon of Auckland, George Granville Gibson, received sentences of 12-months and ten months, following convictions after trials at Durham Crown Court and Teesside Crown Court, in 2016 and 2019, respectively.

Now the pensioner has been jailed for 21 months for indecently assaulting a teenager in the late 1970s.

The victim in this case was a man, then in his late teens, who was recruited from a local drama group to perform in a Christmas pantomime at the church.

Judge James Adkin told the 86-year-old that the public needed to be reassured that people in positions of authority will be locked up for sex offences.

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He said: “The jury found that on these two occasions you sought out this young man, stood next to him and rubbed against his body.

“You did this when you were near others and you seemed to enjoy that. It was hugely embarrassing for him.

“His parents trusted you to look after their son during rehearsals and at the party; you were the parish priest and entirely trusted.”

Giving evidence during the trial, the victim described how Gibson would be present for rehearsals in the church hall and, while often in a group situation, he would massage the complainant’s shoulders and move his hand further down his back.

It culminated in Gibson allegedly pulling the complainant towards his midriff and rubbing against him.

The victim said there were other similar incidents, in either the church kitchen or office, and at the home of another cast member at an after-show party.

He told the court he did not consent to any of the unwanted touching and was “shocked” but did not consider reporting it at the time as he felt he would never be believed.

Judge Adkin added: “It seems to me that hubristic sex offenders in position of authority will be sent to prison if they abuse children in their community.”

The victim had told the court it all came back to him when he read of Gibson’s 2016 conviction in a newspaper, and later, after he read of the allegations being brought that resulted in the second trial, in 2019.

He finally broke his silence and told his wife in 2018, after which he reported it to police.

When arrested Gibson said he could not recall the victim and denied the allegations, claiming he had no sexual interest in men at the time.

Robert Mochrie, representing Gibson, said the defendant was a man in his mid-80s in poor health who was in remission from cancer.

The 86-year-old, of Worsley Park, Darlington, was told he would serve at least half of his sentence in custody.

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