A former priest who took advantage of his position to abuse a young boy for several years has now been jailed following his conviction last month.

David Taylor, previously Father Taylor, now aged 73, preyed on the boy during the 1970s and into the 80s, routinely subjecting him to sexual abuse, making him believe that these things, “‘happened as part of church life.”

Newcastle Crown Court heard that as his victim grew older he began to question the behaviour he was subject to as a boy by the man of the cloth.

But he felt powerless to report his childhood abuser, fearing no one would believe him above an apparently respected member of the community.

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In 2019, however, the victim bravely came forward and, with the support of his family, he spoke to specialist officers within Northumbria Police.

An investigation was launched during which Taylor claimed he was not responsible for such behaviour, maintaining his denials of guilt at a trial which began at the court, on October 24.

But, following a seven-day hearing, the jury found him guilty on November 1 of ten offences, six counts of indecency with a child and four of indecent assault of a child under 14.

The convicted defendant, of Angel Lane, Alnwick, Northumberland, was back before the court this week to be sentenced by Judge Julie Clemitson, who presided over the trial.

She imposed a total prison sentence of 13 years and made Taylor subject to lifetime registration as a sex offender.

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In his impact statement, shared with the court, the victim spoke of the long-term effects of his childhood abuse and how he has felt suicidal as an adult.

He said: “My childhood was regularly being sexually abused by a person I should have been able to trust.

“I will never be able to put into words fully how the abuse by Father David Taylor has affected my life.

“I knew by coming forward that I would need to talk about the worst times in my life and the emotions it would raise.

“However, I believed it was important that people knew exactly how my life had been affected.”

Speaking after the sentencing hearing, Detective Constable Helen Ohalleron, of the Northumbria force, who led the investigation, said: “Taylor abused his position as a priest in the most cruel way possible and, in doing so, he didn’t just destroy a young boy’s childhood but his lifelong ability to trust.

“The victim showed immense bravery by coming forward and, thanks to that strength, his attacker is now behind bars and his reputation ruined.”

She added: “I hope this sentence gives some comfort to the victim who has proved he is every bit a survivor.

“I also hope it serves as a reminder to others that it’s never too late to come forward.

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“You will be listened to, supported and we will do everything we can to ensure your abuser is put before a court.”

She added: “You’re not alone and you don’t deserve to suffer in silence.”

Further support and more information on how to disclose sexual assault or rape is available via: Rape and sexual assault : Northumbria Police, on the force’s website.