The Bishop of Chichester said former priest Gordon Rideout had been the cause of ‘immeasurable and destructive suffering’ after he was found guilty of 36 counts of child sex abuse today (May 20).
The Bishop said, “Our primary concern today is with the people who have had to live for a very long time with the consequences of the shameful abuse they suffered from Gordon Rideout.
“We should pay tribute to those who, at considerable personal and emotional cost, have been able to come forward, to provide evidence, and to substantiate accusations as witnesses in the trial which has led to a guilty verdict.
“Gordon Rideout has been the cause of immeasurable and destructive suffering over a long period of time; he has also betrayed the trust and respect of many who have valued his ministry. Today’s verdict will have repercussions in many different ways across Sussex and beyond.
“The Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, Colin Perkins, and his team have continued their close working relationship with the Police throughout this investigations. On behalf of the Diocese of Chichester I would like to put on record our gratitude to them and all those involved in this case.
“But we are left with the question of why it has taken so long for these grave accusations to be taken seriously and brought to trial. What lessons do we all have to learn from this terrible catalogue of abuse about the strength and effectiveness of our communication within and between agencies that have responsibility for the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults?
“In the diocese of Chichester we shall continue to interrogate those procedures and to do our very best to ensure that we deliver the quality and standard that others expect of us.