24 Oct 2010

Perverted Bedlington priest admits abusing boys

The Chronicle - UK April 3, 2009

by Neil McKay | Evening Chronicle

AS YOUTH co-ordinator, Fr David Taylor was trusted with the spiritual welfare of young catholics across the North East.

Between 1981 and 1989 he took literally hundreds of young people on pastoral trips, often camping out overnight.

On one occasion he even took a party of North East youngsters to the Vatican.

But the perverted priest’s reputation lies in ruins today after he admitted five offences of indecently assaulting three young boys.

Plump, bespectacled Taylor, 59, of Northumberland Avenue, Bedlington, Northumberland, admitted the offences, which all took place between 1982 and 1986, when he appeared at Durham Crown Court yesterday.

At the time he was based at St Mary’s Church, Seaham, County Durham, but was the youth co-ordinator for the diocese. Some of the offences took place on pastoral outings to Holy Island.

Judge Peter Bowers granted him unconditional bail to appear back at the same court on May 5 for sentencing.

He warned him: “Just because you have been granted unconditional bail, do not read anything into that of what your sentence might be.”

The Chronicle revealed in March last year that Fr Taylor had been removed without prejudice as priest in charge at St Peter’s Church, Low Fell, Gateshead.

He was ordained in 1977 and his first appointment was at St Anthony’s, Walker, where he remained until 1981. From there he went to St Mary’s, Seaham.

From 1989 to 1991 he was at St Joseph’s, Sunderland, followed by a post at St John’s, Billingham, Teesside.

He became parish priest at St Peter’s, Kells Lane, Low Fell, in 2002.

Fr Dennis Tindall of the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese yesterday stressed that the Church had tightened up procedures before allowing priests contact with youngsters since the 1980s.

He said: “The highest standards are required and expected of those working with young people in the Church. No exceptions can be made to this.

“It is tragic therefore when a position of great trust leads to behaviour which harms vulnerable individuals. This is never acceptable and we cooperate fully with the statutory authorities throughout.

“The Catholic Church has worked hard and consistently over the last fifteen years to establish clear, respectful and obligatory procedures to ensure that those in our care are safe.

“Historic cases like this serve to emphasise further the all-time need for the greatest vigilance and sensitivity in all we do. The emotional and other consequences of the harm done by a priest who has also accomplished so much that is good, calls for great care and support in our community and beyond.”

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