Abuse victim taking legal action against Church of England after Liverpool vicar continued working after conviction

GoogleSt Peter's in Woolton, Liverpool

A man who was abused as a schoolboy by a vicar at a church in Liverpool is taking legal action against the Church of England after the guilty clergyman remained in the Church for 24 years after being convicted.

Then aged 15, the man was sexually assaulted by John Roberts, formerly of St Peter's in Woolton, Liverpool, a church where the Beatles stars Paul McCartney and the late John Lennon met.

Roberts was convicted in 1989, but stayed in the Church until 2013, becoming a canon and working at Liverpool Cathedral. The Diocese of Liverpool has said it 'deeply regrets' the hurt caused.

The victim is taking legal action after being granted core participant status in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), according to his lawyers Slater and Gordon said.

Now aged in his 40s, he was abused after joining the church choir as a boy. Roberts was convicted of two counts of sexual assault against him.

During the last stage of his career, Roberts assisted at Liverpool Cathedral by doing chaplaincy work, the diocese confirmed.

The victim said that he was 'disgusted' that Roberts was never defrocked. He said: 'While his life improved after his crimes I lost everything. I found it difficult for years to get a job and hold it down because of the psychological scars he inflicted on me. This man was a paedophile yet the church just let him carry on.'

The Diocese of Liverpool said in a statement that it 'acknowledges and deeply regrets the hurt that John Roberts caused his victim and we take this matter very seriously indeed'.

It added that Roberts 'has not got permission from the Bishop of Liverpool to officiate at any church service' and cannot conduct the duties of a priest.

McCartney and Lennon met at St Peter's Church in 1957. Eleanor Rigby, whose name was the inspiration for the song, is buried in the church's graveyard.

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