A 75-YEAR-OLD priest appeared in court yesterday charged with indecent assault on boys.

Patrick Fitzpatrick, of Holy Cross Home, Ettrick Grove, Sunderland, dressed in a blue jacket and walking with the aid of a stick, spoke only to confirm his name at the five-minute hearing at Hartlepool Magistrates Court.

The priest, who previously taught at St Cuthbert's Roman Catholic School for Boys in Hartlepool, has been charged with four counts of indecent assault involving a boy on dates between March 1962 and September 1963.

No pleas were entered and the case was adjourned for three weeks until Monday, October 20.

The charges follow an investigation by the Cleveland Police child protection unit, at Hartlepool.