Sussex

Priest Jonathan Graves jailed for child sex abuse

Jonathan Graves Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Jonathan Graves was a priest at St Luke's Church in Stone Cross, East Sussex

A former Church of England priest has been jailed for 12 years for torturing and sexually abusing two schoolboys in the 1980s and 90s.

Jonathan Graves, 60, of Eastbourne, East Sussex, restrained the children, who were aged between 12 and 14, using belts and chains, and then beat them.

At the time, he was the vicar at St Luke's Church in Stone Cross.

He was convicted on Thursday at Hove Crown Court of 12 offences dating between 1987 and 1992.

'Manipulative and twisted'

During his summing up Judge David Rennie called Graves "secretive, cynical, manipulative and twisted".

With an "overwhelming need to seek punishment and humiliation", Graves used the children as "play things" to satisfy his "perverted sexual desires", he added.

The court heard how he groomed the boys, plied them with alcohol and tied them up, often using padlocks, and beat them with whips and canes, as well as forcing them to do the same to him.

Jugde Rennie said the rituals involved Graves urinating on their heads and forcing the boys to lick toothpaste from between Grave's toes.

Image caption Det Insp Jon Gross, of the Sussex Police Public Protection Command

Det Insp Jon Gross, of Sussex Police Public Protection Command, said: "I'm pleased as far as you can be with this, it's a significant sentence for this type of offence.

"This man has had two personas, the public persona that his congregation knew and let parents put their children in his care, and behind closed doors the planning to groom these children and get them to do despicable things."

He added he had "nothing but admiration" for the victims who came forward and "stuck with" the prosecution process for about four years.

Graves, of Jervis Avenue, was cleared of five similar charges, including one offence of indecent assault on a 50-year-old woman in 2002, following a nine-day trial.

Image caption Jonathan Graves plied them with alcohol and tricked them into playing sadistic forfeit games
Image caption Graves was the vicar at St Luke's Church in Stone Cross at the time of the attacks

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