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  1. ITV Report

Priest sentenced for sex offences

Canon Stephen Shield committed the offences more than two decades ago Photo:

A cathedral dean from Lancaster will be sentenced for committing historic sex offences against a young man.

Canon Stephen Shield, formerly of Lancaster Cathedral, was convicted of three indecent assaults following a trial at Preston Crown Court last month.

Two of the assaults took place in a church presbytery in Preston in 1992 when the victim was 24, while the other happened at a retreat in the Lake District seven years earlier.

The victim told the court that Shield, 53, abused him under the table at a dinner party in Preston where other priests were among the guests.

Giving evidence he said he was convinced that others present knew what had happened but kept quiet.

Shield, of Balmoral Road, Lancaster, had pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

Following his conviction, Joanne Cunliffe, crown advocate for CPS North West Complex Casework Unit, said: "The defendant was in a position of trust within the Roman Catholic Church and in the community he served. He abused this position for his own sexual gratification, showing complete disregard to any long-term effect his crimes may have had upon his victim.

"The victim has shown great courage coming forward and I would like to thank him for his assistance with the prosecution case which has enabled us to bring Stephen Shield to justice.

"This case serves as an example that time is not a barrier and it is never too late to report such offences, no matter how long ago they took place."