A PRIEST protested his innocence last night despite losing an appeal against his sacking amid allegations of sexual harassment from parishioners.

The Reverend Harry Brown said: ''I will never, ever get another job in the church again. I feel destroyed.''

Mr Brown, 49, was speaking after he had lost his appeal.

He was sacked by the Bishop of Carlisle, the Right Reverend Graham Dow, in September 2001 following allegations of sexual harassment, intimidating behaviour, mental abuse and financial irregularities.

More than a dozen parishioners made allegations against Mr Brown when he was priest in charge of Crosscrake and Preston Patrick, near Kendal, Cumbria.

The hearing, held at the Parish Church of St Chad, in York, which was overseen by the Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope, was Mr Brown's appeal against the revocation of his licence.

His wife, Lynn Brown, 50, said: ''The Archbishop of York, on the evidence presented to him, has decided that he should uphold the decision of the Bishop of Carlisle.

''The bottom line is, as Harry stated two years ago, he never expected to win the case as the establishment always backs the establishment.''

Mrs Brown said her husband continued to protest his innocence on the sexual harassment allegations.

He denied all charges, except those of financial irregularities.

Mr Brown said he had not lost his faith, adding: "God is above all of this.