Sex abuse victims urged to seek help

TWO BROTHERS from Eastbourne who were sexually abused by an Anglican priest have waived their right to anonymity to criticise the Church of England’s failure to protect them.

Phil and Gary Johnson were abused by the Reverend Roy Cotton in the 1970s and 1980s at St Andrew’s Church in Seaside.

Cotton worked as a parish priest despite being convicted of a sexual offence against a boy in 1954.

The pervert died in 2006 but the two brothers are angry he was never brought to justice and say it has had a devastating effect on their lives.

Gary said, “Being abused is bad enough but being abused by someone in such a position of authority means I don’t trust doctors, police, anyone in authority. I don’t trust men.”

Phil said he did not know his younger brother was also being abused until they were adults.

He said, “I just felt horrible, completely responsible, as though I could have prevented this from happening to him and hadn’t done so.”

The two brothers went to the police in 1996 but Cotton was allowed to continue his priestly duties until his death.

Phil said, “I just feel a bit cheated really that he died and managed to get away with it. If he had lived a bit longer he would be in prison.”

There are believed to be more of Cotton’s victims in the Eastbourne are who have yet to come forward and this week Gary urged them to get help.

“I have been ashamed too long,” he said. “I have carried the guilt of this for too long.

“There are people out there who need to get help. The sooner you start on that journey, the sooner you get some of your life back.”

Because of publicity surrounding the brothers’ case, the Diocese of Chichester recently appointed Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss to carry out a review into the church’s failings. Her report is due out soon.