Convicted Marchington child porn vicar quits

Image caption, Stone had been in his post since 2002

A vicar convicted of downloading indecent images of children at his vicarage in Staffordshire has resigned.

The Reverend Dominic Stone, of Marchington, was last week found guilty of 16 counts of making indecent images of children on 7 and 8 January 2009.

In a letter to congregations in Uttoxeter, the Bishop of Lichfield said the 47-year-old had quit with immediate effect.

He will be sentenced next month after 600 images were found on his PC.

The judge at Stafford Crown Court ordered Stone to register as a sex offender.

The married father-of-two was suspended as vicar of Marchington, Marchington Woodlands, Kingstone and Leigh, when his computer was seized by police in January. He had been in the post since 2002.

He claimed the images had been downloaded by someone else.

In the letter to parishioners, Rt Rev Jonathan Gledhill said: "The downloading of indecent images of children is a very serious crime as it not only depicts but also encourages and feeds the real abuse of innocent children.

"The Clergy Discipline Measure is the law which dictates how I deal with complaints against priests.

"This law requires me to wait until the convicted priest has been sentenced before I can consider removing them from their post.

"However, on Thursday of this week, Dominic tendered his resignation with immediate effect and I have accepted it."

He added that he would consider whether to bar Stone from acting as a priest after he had been sentenced.

"I recognise that this will be scant consolation for you and there will no doubt be a mixture of thoughts, feelings and emotions in the parishes as a result of the past 21 months," he said.

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