Priest accused of sexual behaviour with NHS patients

A priest who worked at St Luke’s Church in Stone Cross is being investigated for ‘sexually motivated’ inappropriate behaviour during his time as a nurse.

Stephen Sheridan, who worked at the Stone Cross church as assistant curator, is accused of behaving inappropriately with patients between 2002 and 2010 while working for the NHS in Worthing.

Mr Sheridan was ordained as a priest by the Diocese of Chichester in 2007.

The Diocese of Chichester has provided a report to the nursing watchdog, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which is leading the investigation into Mr Sheridan’s alleged misconduct.

In 2008 he is accused of behaving ‘inappropriately’ to a ‘vulnerable’ 16-year-old girl and sending her text messages, a birthday card.

He is accused of starting a sexual relationship with a patient who was being treated at Meadowfield psychiatric hospital in Worthing in 2002.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs mental health services across the county, said it sacked Mr Sheridan when the allegations were made.

In a letter to Mr Sheridan from the NMC, which includes an 18-month interim suspension to allow a ‘full and proper’ investigation.

The letter said, “Consequently, the panel remained concerned that you have displayed difficulties, over a period, in understanding the boundaries of relationships.”

It went on to say, “It [the panel] noted that the charge was very serious in nature, involving an allegation of a sexual relationship with a patient.

“The panel noted that the patient was a vulnerable patient under your care at the time of your alleged behaviour.”

The order will prevent Mr Sheridan from working as a registered nurse.