Lancashire

Former Salvation Army members guilty of Blackpool child sex abuse

Blackpool
Image caption The abuse took place in a number of locations around Blackpool in the 70s and 80s, the CPS said

Three men who were members of the Salvation Army - including a father and son - have been found guilty of sexually abusing young girls.

Trevor Worthington, 88, his son Philip Worthington, 64, and William Tomkinson, 70, were convicted of charges including indecent assault and attempted rape.

The assaults against two victims took place in the 1970s and 1980s, Preston Crown Court heard on Thursday.

Another man, Derek Smith, 68, admitted indecent assault at an earlier hearing.

The abuse took place in a number of locations around Blackpool, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

William Tomkinson first abused one of the girls in the 1970s when she was 11 years old.

He was treasurer for the Salvation Army at the time.

'Trusting girls'

Philip Worthington began to abuse the same girl when she was 13 years old and Derek Smith abused her when she was 14.

When the victim told Trevor Worthington about the abuse, including that his son had been one of the perpetrators, Worthington himself began abusing her, the CPS said.

During a police investigation into the first victim's allegations, a second victim came forward to report that Tomkinson and Philip Worthington had sexually abused her in the 1980s, from when she was 15 years old.

Sophie Rozdolskyj, from the CPS, said: "These men abused their positions of high standing in the community to take advantage of two young and trusting girls."

The men will be sentenced at a future date.

Dean Juster, director of the Salvation Army's Safeguarding, apologised to the victims and said the organisation was "deeply concerned" that the assaults took place.

"As soon as we were made aware of the charges the action we took was to suspend the three individuals from our organisation. We worked closely with the police and provided access to our internal investigation records.

"We have listened carefully to this case and whilst we followed internal processes we had in place at the time we will ensure that we learn from any lessons in this case."

•William Tomkinson, 70, of Raleigh Avenue, Blackpool, was found guilty of 10 counts of indecent assault

•Trevor Worthington, 88, of Mayfield Avenue, Thornton, was found guilty of one count of indecent assault

•Philip Worthington, 64, of Warwick Place, Blackpool, was found guilty of four counts of indecent assault, one count of gross indecency with a child and two counts of attempted rape

•Derek Smith, 68, of Hall Park Drive, Lytham, pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault

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