Retired priest Robert Coles, who has been jailed for sex offences. Picture courtesy of Sussex Police.
THE victims of a paedophile priest who carried out attacks on boys as young as ten have been praised by police after he was jailed for eight years yesterday (Thursday).
Robert Coles, 71, was charged last year with a string of offences against boys aged as young as ten, including some that occurred on the Isle of Wight, dating back to the 1970s.
At Chichester Crown Court in December, Coles, of Eastbourne, pleaded guilty to 11 offences of sexual assault against three victims and yesterday (Thursday) he appeared at the same court for sentencing.
The retired Church of England priest denied seven similar charges and prosecutors said they had decided not to pursue those cases, following consultation with the police and victims. The charges will remain on file however, which means they could be pursued in the future.
Coles has been served with a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which prohibits him from contacting the victims, having any unsupervised contact with under 16s or seeking any employment or voluntary work that would involve unsupervised access to under 16s.
He will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
Police said none of the charges related to recent or current offending and there was nothing to suggest children were currently at risk.
DI Jez Prior of Sussex Police said: "We admire the courage of the victims in coming forward and being prepared to give evidence against Coles.
"We continue to encourage people wishing to report offences to contact us, regardless of how long ago offending took place."