Paedophile priest who abused four young boys in the 80s found guilty

Disgraced priest Francis Simpson was at St Chads Catholic Church in Chorley from 2016 until he was placed on administration leave the following year
Disgraced priest Francis Simpson was at St Chads Catholic Church in Chorley from 2016 until he was placed on administration leave the following year
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A perverted Lancashire clergyman has been found guilty of historical child sex crimes.

Francis Simpson molested four boys while serving as a parish priest between 1980 and 1982.

Bolton Crown Court heard that the abuse, which involved sexual touching over clothing, took place on visits to the boys’ homes, in his car when taking them on trips and, in one victim’s case, when in class at school.

The age range of the victims at the time was between seven and 15.

The sickening offences took place at Worsley Mesnes St Jude’s Church in Wigan but he later moved to St Chad’s in Chorley in 2016.

Simpson, of Knightscliffe Crescent, Shevington, had denied nine counts of indecent assault.

But after eight days of evidence and two days’ deliberations, a trial jury returned nine guilty verdicts against the 71-year-old.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Simpson may have thought he had got away with the shocking abuse of these boys, whose trust in him was so cruelly exploited.

“But by speaking out they have helped bring him to justice, and have shown that victims do not need to suffer in silence.

“We hope they are now receiving all the support they need to help them move forward with their lives.”

Records from 2017 show Simpson was on “administrative leave” from St Chad’s in Chorley, where he was appointed in 2016. Prior to this, he had been a parish priest in Litherland, Merseyside.

A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool said: “The Archdiocese acknowledges the verdict and expresses profound sorrow for the terrible crimes committed by him.”