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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Former Cumbrian Canon admits indecent assault

A FORMER high ranking member of the Church of England in Cumbria has been jailed after admitting indecent assault.

EM Ronald Johns
Ronald Johns

Ronald Johns, aged 75, of Kings Road, Coltishall, Norwich, Norfolk, has been sentenced today at Carlisle Crown Court to four years in prison.

It follows allegations of indecent assault in Cumbria between 1983 and 1991. He went on to become a Canon at Carlisle Cathedral and later a vicar at Caldbeck.

Johns pleaded guilty to the offences, which included gross indecency and indecent assault against three boys, at Carlisle Crown Court in September.

Detective Inspector Gary McFadden, the investigating officer, said: “Today’s court appearance marks the end of a 12 month long police investigation which only began due to the bravery of the victims who had the strength to come forward and report what had happened to them all those years ago.

"This takes remarkable strength and they have remained our focus throughout the investigation. Many of those victims were in court today to see justice being brought by the sentence which was imposed.

“Johns abused his position of trust to commit heinous crimes against children - and now, almost 20 years on, he has received his punishment.

“Cumbria Police take allegations of sexual offences extremely seriously – no matter when the offences were committed. We would encourage any victims of crime to contact us and we will do all we can to support you and bring offenders to justice.”

A spokesperson for the Diocese said: “A prison sentence can never be a matter of pleasure, nor can it put right wrongs that were done, but the sentence given to Ronald Johns today is just and fair and reflects the gravity of his offences.

“We know that those abused can be manipulated by the abuser so that they are the ones who end up feeling guilty, while the abuser attempts to excuse himself. The Diocese of Carlisle therefore hopes that Ronald Johns’ victims will feel that this sentence lays clear the truth: Ronald Johns did wicked things, which were not their fault or responsibility.

“We thank the police for all their work, those who deal with these very painful and stressful sorts of cases deserve our prays and support.

“In case anyone is affected by these matters, we have set up a special helpline with the NSPCC 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, where independent, confidential and sensitive advice can be sought. The number is: 0808 800 5000 (calls free from UK landlines). The County Council Social Care department can also offer help and advice, their number is 0333 240 1727 Or, of course, people can ring the Police directly on 101.”

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