Woman’s account of ‘abuse’ from ex-vicar

PICTURE BY CIARAN McCRICKARD/CONNORS'16/07/2012 - CANON GORDON RIDEOUT LEAVES HAYWARDS HEATH LAW COURTS ACCUSED OF 38 SEXUAL OFFENCES ON CHILDREN
PICTURE BY CIARAN McCRICKARD/CONNORS'16/07/2012 - CANON GORDON RIDEOUT LEAVES HAYWARDS HEATH LAW COURTS ACCUSED OF 38 SEXUAL OFFENCES ON CHILDREN

Children would call the canon accused of child sex abuse ‘pervy Rideout’, one of his alleged victims has told a court.

Gordon Rideout, a 74-year-old Church of England minister, has pleaded not guilty to 38 sexual offences against 18 young boys and girls, some as young as five.

Rideout lives in Filching Close, Polegate, and is currently on bail but standing trial at Lewes Crown Court.

Yesterday (Monday, April 15), one of his alleged victims told the court she had been indecently assaulted by the canon while she was in care during her teenage years.

She also told the court Rideout was known to all the children in that care home during the 1960s as ‘pervy Rideout’.

The woman, now in her 60s, gave evidence via video-link.

She told the court, “The senior boys used to tell us not to be around Mr Rideout because he was always hanging around the boys and girls.

“You didn’t tell anyone what happened to you but he was known by most of us as pervy Rideout because he was always around chatting to the boys and girls.”

The woman also told the court the alleged indecent assaults on her had happened when she was in bed in the dormitory – once when she was ill with the flu and around six months later after she had been beaten by those who were supposed to be caring for her.

QC Frances Oldham, defending Rideout, asked the witness why she and the other alleged victims hadn’t spoken out to other staff or fellow children about what had happened.

The alleged victim said, “Because you were scared they would go and tell someone and then you are back in having a beating again. And you can only take so many beatings.”

The witness also told the court she was worried about telling people what had happened because she feared she would be moved away from her siblings. The woman gave further evidence about Rideout being in a tent with another young girl during a summer camp.

Thirty-six of the alleged offences are of indecent assault on 16 girls and boys aged between five years old and their mid-teens, 31 of those are alleged to have been committed at a now closed Barnardos children’s home in West Sussex, and one at a Barnardos children’s home in Essex between 1961 and 1967. Four others are alleged to have taken place at an army site in Hampshire against two girls under 13 between 1971 and 1973.

The other two alleged offences are of attempted unlawful sexual intercourse with one of the girls at West Sussex between 1962 and 1966.

Rideout denies the charges against him and his trial continues at Lewes Crown Court. It is expected to last eight weeks.