Paedophile priest who hid previous convictions jailed

Brian Horrobin

Brian Horrobin

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A paedophile Mormon priest who hid his previous convictions from church elders has been jailed.

Brian Horrobin, 57, was jailed in 2013 for grooming and sexually abusing a boy and a girl he met through the Anglican church in the 1970s.

The victims kept their silence for more than 40 years but when the woman went to a church service and saw Horrobin among the congregation she reported him to the police.

But following his release from prison, Horrobin, formerly of Leyland, changed his surname and moved to a new town where he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints.

Using the surname Ashton, Horrobin was baptised into the Mormon church and shortly after ordained as an Aaronic priest - proudly displaying his certificated on the wall of his flat in Wigan, Greater Manchester.

In May 2015, Horrobin was ordained into the Melchizedek priesthood - a position of authority reserved for men who meet standards of worthy behaviour and church participation. But at no stage did he disclose he had a previous conviction for indecently assaulting the youngsters and was banned from seeking paid or voluntary work which would bring him into contact with children under the terms of his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

When police officers called at his flat on a routine monitoring visit, Horrobin had taken his certificates down from the wall in a bid to conceal his involvement with the church.

Following his arrest he claimed he had removed the certificates when he was dusting but later pleaded guilty to breaching his SOPO.

Judge Heather Lloyd, sentencing at Preston Crown Court, said: “That SOPO was put in place to prevent you from any further opportunity to sexually abuse a child during any paid or voluntary work.

“When you decided to join the Mormon church and when you have risen in the congregation and priesthood you deliberately failed to disclose your history and the restrictions on your employment. You must have known that your priestly duties were likely to entail unsupervised contact with children and because of your priestly role other parents were likely to trust you with their children.

“It was a deliberate decision to deceive and hide the truth from the church just as it was a deliberate decision to hide your certificates from the police when they visited you. They weren’t taken down because you were dusting. They were taken down because if the police were aware of your position in the church they would have arrested you.

“Although no unsupervised contact took place that was likely to be your intention.

“Once again you have insinuated yourself into the church to gain access to children, whether that is in Sunday school or within the church.”

He was jailed for 11 months and ordered he must be supervised by the probation service for a year after his release.