Eastbourne priest jailed for abusing vulnerable children claimed prison sentence was ‘too tough’

Jonathan Graves
Jonathan Graves

A degenerate priest caged for grooming and whipping vulnerable schoolboys 30 years ago had his 12-year sentence backed by senior judges today (Thursday, Aril 12).

Jonathan Mark Graves plied his two victims with drink before persuading them to play sick ‘forfeit games’ involving bizarre punishments.

One boy was made to lick toothpaste from Graves’ toes and whipped with a wet towel, Judge Peter Collier QC told London’s Appeal Court.

“Graves encouraged these forfeit games for his own sexual gratification,” he added.

He employed similar tactics with the second boy, the Appeal Court heard, luring him with rich food and drink before playing ‘similar forfeit games’.

That boy was also whipped during the twisted games, as well as being hosed down with cold water and having his head dunked in the toilet.

Graves, now 60, who had a reputation as a ‘fun priest’, also crept into the boy’s bed on the pretext of giving him a massage, said the judge.

The boys suffered ‘severe psychological harm’ due to abuse at the hands of the Anglican minister.

Graves, of Jervis Avenue, Eastbourne, was jailed for 12 years at Lewes Crown Court in September last year.

Jurors convicted him of indecent assault and of cruelty against the two youngsters.

His case reached the Appeal Court today as he challenged his jail term.

Graves, who formerly preached at St Luke’s Church, Stone Cross, claimed his punishment was much too tough.

But Judge Collier, sitting with two other judges, dismissed his appeal, describing the sentence as ‘fully justified’.

“We are satisfied that the total sentence cannot be described as either wrong in principle or manifestly excessive,” he concluded.