Former vicar jailed for abuse of 12-year-old boy


A former vicar who sexually abused a boy from his church has been jailed for eight years.

Leonard Skinner, 79 and of Brighton Grove, Tyne and Wear, was a vicar in Grange Park, Enfield in London when the abuse took place in the 1970s.

He was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court, which heard how he had befriended the boy and invited him to the vicarage for confirmation lessons before abusing him over a four-year period.

The boy was only 12 when the assaults began. They were reported on last October, when police began an investigation.

Skinner pleaded guilty at his trial last month. Police spokesman Detective Constable John Ritsema said: "Skinner used his role in a position of trust, as well as his friendly demeanour, to gain access to his victim. I would like to pay tribute to the courage of the victim in speaking out against Skinner. It was his testimonial that secured the charges and enabled this case to be brought to court."

In a statement the Diocese of London Safeguarding Team said: "We are aware that Rev Leonard Harold Skinner, a former member of the clergy in London, has pleaded guilty to several counts of indecent assault against a child. These are appalling crimes."

They added: "We treat all abuse allegations with the utmost seriousness and are working closely with the authorities on this case as well as providing support to those affected by Leonard Skinner's actions."