Two arrested on suspicion of sexual offences against teenage boys and young men
|Date Added||13 November 2012 11:30|
|Press officer||Tim Mahony|
An 80-year old man was arrested on Tuesday morning 13 November at his home address near Langport, Somerset, on suspicion of eight sexual offences committed against eight boys and young men, ranging in age from 12 to the early twenties, at addresses in East Sussex and elsewhere, during the late 1980s and early 1990's.
On the same morning, a 67-year old man was arrested at his home address near Haywards Heath , West Sussex, on suspicion of two separate sexual offences against two teenage boys in East Sussex between 1981 and 1983.
They are currently detained, in Somerset and Sussex respectively, for interview and further enquiries by Sussex Police officers.
The arrests result from a review and subsequent investigation over the past six months by a team of Sussex Police detectives. The investigation follows receipt by Sussex Police in May this year from Lambeth Palace of two reports from a Church of England safeguarding consultant, which contain reviews of Church files relating to matters relating to the safeguarding of young people in the Chichester Diocese during the 1980's and early 1990's. We also received the files themselves.
The investigation, which relates to alleged offences not previously reported to Sussex Police, has taken six months so far. This is a very complex enquiry, in the course of which many people, all now adults, have had to be traced, together with other witnesses and records from a wide variety of sources, and there is continuing consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service ( CPS).
There are no allegations of recent or current offending and police emphasise that there is nothing to suggest that any young people are currently at risk. Police also stress that the allegations are being treated separately and do not involve the two men allegedly acting together.
Detective Chief Inspector Carwyn Hughes of Sussex Police, who is in charge of the investigation, said; "The Church of England, including the Diocese of Chichester, are co-operating fully with police. Although the matters referred to are still subject of police investigation, Sussex Police make it clear that the force will always take seriously any allegations of historic sexual offending, and every possible step will be taken to investigate whenever appropriate. Allegations of historic offences are treated just as seriously as any more recent offences. Police advice and assistance can also obtained by calling Sussex Police on 101 and quoting Operation Dunhill.
A special helpline is also available for anyone who feels they need support or advice whenever learning of this or any similar cases. The helpline is manned by staff at the NSPCC and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Calls will be handled sensitively and confidentially. Where appropriate, callers will be referred to specially trained police officers and, if required, a range of local counselling services, who are ready to offer expert support to those who come forward. The helpline number is 0800 389 5344.
Newsdesk Guidance; We will not be providing any police media briefing or interview and we are not prepared to release or confirm the identities of those arrested or to disclose where they are being interviewed. An update will be issued in due course.