England

Victim of sex-abuse priest Robert Coles rejects payout

Robert Coles
Image caption Robert Coles is serving an eight-year prison sentence

A man who was sexually abused as a boy by a Church of England priest has rejected a six-figure compensation offer.

The man, who cannot be identified, was one of a number of boys abused by Robert Coles when he was a priest in Horsham and Chichester, in Sussex.

Coles, of Upperton Road, Eastbourne, was jailed for eight years in February after admitting 11 sex abuse charges.

The victim, now 45, says he wants a sum "in proportion" to his suffering.

'Archbishop appalled'

He told the BBC: "I've been sectioned, I've self-harmed. I've tried to end my life.

"Numerous times I've been in intensive care."

The man, who said he had reported the abuse to Sussex Police in 1997, says he is prepared to go to court to get the compensation he believes he deserves.

"It needs to be in proportion to what I've suffered," he said.

The Diocese of Chichester said it hoped it would avoid going to court over the case, but could not discuss details of this compensation claim.

After Coles's sentencing, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby apologised to the victims, saying he was "appalled" by the case.

He said systems designed to protect survivors had "clearly failed".

Brighton Crown Court heard in February that Coles had disclosed he was a child sex abuser to senior clergy, including the then Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Rev Wallace Benn, but the information was not passed on to police.

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Media captionMark, which is not his real name, was one of a number of boys abused by Robert Coles when he was a priest in Horsham and Chichester, in Sussex.

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